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First published 1900. 
Re-is sue y 19 19. 








The Macmillan Companii .lfav\ork 



The present translation of the epistles of St. Ignatius 
is intended to set before English readers, in an 
accessible form, the writings of one of the most 
important characters in the Church history of the period 
succeeding the age of the Apostles. In these epistles 
we have the key to the right understanding of the 
character of the Church at the beginning of the second 
century. The two facts to which they bear witness are, 
on the one hand, the significance of the Incarnation 
for Christians of that generation as the central truth of 
Christianity, and, on the other, the importance attached 
to the visible unity of the Church as expressed in the 
organization of the Christian societies under bishops, 
presbyters, and deacons. The striking personality of the 
writer of the epistles, and the controversy which has 
gathered round them, combine to make them one of 
the most interesting products of early Christian times. 

Bishop Lightfoot's great work {Ignatius and Polycarp^ 
1885) has exhaustively treated of most of the critical 
questions which are connected with the text and the 
exposition of the epistles. The present writer has made 
that work his chief guide, and has rarely ventured, in 
the interpretation of passages, to depart from the views 
expressed in it. On the nature of the heresies attacked 
in the epistles, however, he has adopted in the main the 
conclusions of Dr. Hort in his Judaisiic Christiafiity. 
The articles on Ignatius by Dr. Harnack in the Expositor 
for 1885 and 1886, as well as the same writer's treatment 
of the epistles in his Chronologic der Altchristlichen 
IJtteratur, have also been consulted. The notes of 
2^hn on the epistles have supplied much useful matter, 


while for the external history of the period Professor 
Ramsay's Church in the Roman Empire has been found 
invaluable. In treating of the theology of Ignatius the 
writer has found much that is suggestive in the able 
monograph of Von der Goltz {Texte und Untersuch- 
ungen, Bd. xii.), although he has not always been able 
to subscribe to the author's conclusions. 

The writer is indebted to Dr. Swete, Regius Professor 
of Divinity at Cambridge, for much kind advice un- 
grudgingly given; to the committee of the S.P.C.K. for 
the interest they have shown in the work, and for some 
useful criticisms ; to the Rev. W. L. E. Parsons, of 
Selwyn College, who has read through the translation, 
and to others. 


A few slight changes and additions have been made 
both in the introduction and in the notes ; but in its 
main features the present edition is a reprint of the 


The call for a fresh edition of this little book, which 
is now set Up in a new form, has rendered necessary a 
more thorough revision of the introduction and notes 
than was possible in preparing it for the second edition. 
In the eighteen years which have elapsed since its first 
appearance new light has been thrown on many of the 
questions dealt with. Several of the notes have been 
re-written and also certain sections of the introduction. 
A new Additional Note, in place of the original Add. 
Note 2, has been inserted, in which the question of the 
Christian Ministry has been more fully dealt with. On 
the other hand, a few curtailments have been made 
elsewhere. In other respects the present edition is a 
reprint of the earlier edition. 

J. H. S. 



























Around the letters bearing the name of St. Ignatius 
there has been waged a literary controversy that has 
extended from the time of the revival of learning to the 
nineteenth century. The subject is of special interest 
to Englishmen, as the discussion of the genuineness of 
these letters found a place in the religious controversies 
of England in the seventeenth century, and the decision 
of the question has on three occasions been associated 
with the names of English scholars, /. e. Archbishop 
Ussher and Bishop Pearson in the seventeenth century, 
and Bishop Lightfoot in the nineteenth century. During 
the Middle Ages there were current in Europe seventeen 
letters connected with the name of St. Ignatius. Four 
of these embrace the spurious correspondence with St. 
John and the Virgin. They include — 

(i) Two letters from Ignatius to St. John. 

(ii) A letter from Ignatius to the Virgin. 

(iii) A letter from the Virgin to Ignatius. 

The letters only exist in Latin, and were most prob- 
ably composed in that language. An attempt has been 
made to claim the authority of St. Bernard in support of 
their genuineness, because in one of his sermons he says 
that Ignatius * saluteth a certain Mary in several epistles, 
which he wrote to her, as Christ-bearer.' But the word 


quandavi} *a certain (one)/ shows that he is speaking 
of some less famous person than the Virgin, the reference 
being, doubtless, to Mary of Cassobola, to whom one 
of the letters of the Long Form is addressed. As the 
object of the forger was undoubtedly to do honour to 
the Virgin, Lightfoot is inclined to connect the letters 
with the outburst of Mariolatry which took place in the 
eleventh and following centuries. The forgery was 
speedily disposed of as soon as the revival of the study 
of antiquity began. 

The remaining thirteen epistles, known as the Longer 
Form, include a longer version of the seven letters of the 
present collection, together with six additional letters, /. e. 
Mary of Cassobola to Ignatius, Ignatius to Mary of 
Cassobola, to the Tarsians, to the Philippians, to the 
Antiochenes, and to Hero. This Longer Form is con- 
tained in several Greek MSS. and also in a Latin version 
of which the MSS. are numerous. The six additional 
letters are also found attached to the seven letters of 
the present collection not only in the Greek MSS., but 
also in the Latin, Syriac, Armenian and Coptic transla- 
tions. The Latin version was printed in 1498, and was 
followed in 1557 by the publication of the Greek text. 
Neither of these editions contained the letter of Mary 
of Cassobola to Ignatius, which appeared, however, in 
subsequent editions. 

It was not long before the suspicions of students were 
aroused. They could not fail to be struck by the wide 
divergence of the text of Ignatius in the current editions 
from the quotations of early Christian writers, such as 
Eusebius (c. a.d. 310 — 325) and Theodoret (a.d 446). 
It was noticed further that Eusebius only makes mention 
of seven letters, and that no others but these are referred 
to by Christian writers for some considerable period after 
the time of Eusebius. Internal evidence confirmed these 
suspicions by pointing out obvious anachronisms and 
mistakes in the letters. At the same time the prejudices 

^ Tlie omission of this word in some MSS. assisted the miscon- 
ception of the passage. But there is no doubt that it forms a part 
of t lie true text. 


of Protestant writers, and especially of those who favoured 
Presbyterian views, were excited against the letters, be- 
cause their presentation of Church order conflicted with 
their own views. On the one hand it was recognized by 
the Jesuit Petavius, that the epistles were interpolated, 
and on the other hand many Protestant writers were 
prepared to believe that they included some genuine 
letters of Ignatius. Vedelius, a professor at Geneva, 
published an edition of the letters in 1623, in which he 
attempted to separate the genuine from the spurious 
letters. The seven letters mentioned by Eusebius were 
placed in one class, and the remaining five, which he 
regarded as spurious, were formed into a second class. 
He also maintained that the seven letters contained 
interpolations, and in proof of this he showed that the 
interpolator had made use of extracts from the Apostolical 

The genuineness of the Long Form was commonly 
accepted by English writers of eminence before Ussher's 
time, and we find the letters in that form quoted by 
Hooker and Bishop Andrewes. The question, however, 
was prominently brought forward by the controversies of 
the day. • Episcopacy was being vehemently attacked by 
the Puritans. This attack reached its climax in the 
famous Smectymnuus controversy (so called from the 
initials of the names of the five Presbyterian divines), in 
which Bishop Hall defended, and the Presbyterians 
attacked, the government of the Church by bishops. In 
this controversy Ussher w s induced to take a part. In 
his pamphlet The Original of Bishops and Metropolitans^ 
he made use of the evidence of the Ignatian epistles, 
carefully confining, however, his quotations to the 
passages in which the interpolated version agrees with 
the genuine text. Ussher's pamphlet was replied to by 
the poet Milton in his treatise Of Prelatical Episcopacy^ 
published in 1641. He attacks the genuineness of the 
Ignatian epistles and says, ' To what end then should 
they cite him as authentic for episcopacy, when they 
cannot know what is authentic of him ? ' But Ussher 
had already engaged in the task of rescuing the genuine 


epistles from the interpolated and spurious additions of 
the current text. He had examined the quotations of 
Ignatius found in the writings of Robert Grosseteste, 
Bishop of Lincoln (c. a.d. 1250), and two other English 
writers, John Tyssington and William Wodeford, who 
wrote in the fourteenth century and were members of 
the Franciscan house at Oxford, to which Grosseteste left 
his books. These quotations, he found, differed from 
the common text of Ignatius and agreed with the quota- 
tions found in Eusebius and Theodoret. This led him 
to conclude that there might exist somewhere in England 
manuscripts containing this purer text of the epistles 
The result was the discovery of two Latin MSS. of the 
epistles. The first of these was found in the library of 
Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. This MS., of 
which Ussher procured a transcript, was written by 
Walter Crome, D.D., a former Fellow, being completed 
in the year 144 1, as we learn from a note in Crome's 
own handwriting, while another note in the same hand 
on a fly-leaf states that the MS. was presented to the 
College in a.d. T444 *on the feast of St. Hugh.' 

The second MS. came from the library of Richard 
Montague or Montacute, Bishop of Norwich It has, 
however, disappeared since Ussher's time, although we 
possess a collation of its readings contained between the 
lines or in the margin of Ussher's transcript of the Caius 
MS. This transcript is now in the library of Dublin 

Of these two MSS. the second appears to be the 
earlier and the more accurate. In fact Lightfoot thinks 
that it closely represents the version as it came from the 
translator. Ussher found that the quotations of Ignatius 
in the works of Grosseteste were taken from the Latin 
version preserved in these two MSS., and further study 
led him to believe that Grosseteste was himself the trans- 
lator. Such a view is consistent with the interest shown 
by the great Bishop of Lincoln in Greek learning and in 
the translation of Greek authors. Moreover we know 
that among the books of which Grosseteste caused a 
translation to be made were the writings of Dionysius 


the Areopagite. These appear frequently bound up in 
the same MS. as the Ignatian epistles. In recent times 
there has been more direct confirmation of Ussher's 
view. This is supplied by a note in a fourteenth-century 
MS. in the library at Tour?, attributing the Latin trans- 
lation to Grosseteste. 

Ussher published his shorter Latin text in 1644. But 
as yet the Greek text corresponding to this shorter Latin 
version had not appeared. This link was supplied two 
years later by the publication at Amsterdam by Isaac 
Voss of the Greek text of six out of the seven letters, the 
epistle to the Romans being missing. This Greek text 
was based upon an eleventh-century MS. in the Medicean 
library at Florence. Finally the Greek text of the missing 
epistle to the Romans was published by Ruinart in 1689 
from a MS. of the tenth century, now in the National 
Library at Paris. The MS. contains the Greek Acts of 
the martyrdom of Ignatius, and the epistle to the Romans 
is incorporated in them. Ussher's labours thus enabled 
students to recognize the genuine epistles of Ignatius, 
and to separate from these the interpolated portions, as 
well as the spurious epistles, found in the Longer Form. 

But the publication by Voss of the (}reek text of the 
seven epistles led to a new controversy set on foot by 
the French Puritans, who attacked the epistles because 
of the support which they lent to episcopacy. The most 
formidable opponent was Daill^, whose work appeared 
in 1666. This new attack was concentrated upon the 
seven letters as published by Voss. The attack was 
met, and the genuineness of the letters vindicated by 
Bishop Pearson, who wrote his Vi?idicue Ignatiamc in 

The next important date in the Ignatian controversy 
was the year 1845, when Canon Cureton published a 
Syriac version of the epistles to St. Polycarp, the 
Ephesians, and the Romans. The three epistles con- 
tained in this version appear in a much shorter form than 
is found in the Greek text and Latin version. A frag- 
ment of the epistle to the Trallians is incorporated in 
the epistle to the Romans, but none of the other epistles 


appear in the collection. The text of Curcton's edition 
was based upon two MSS. in the British Museum. The 
former of these two MSS. dates from the sixth century. 
It was purchased by Archdeacon Tattam from the 
convent of St. Mary Deipara in the Nitrian desert in 
1839. The second MS. dates from the seventh or 
eighth century, and was brought from Egypt by Arch- 
deacon Tattam in 1842. Cureton maintained that these 
three epistles alone represented the genuine Ignatius, 
that the Vossian collection contained these three in an 
interpolated form, and that the remaining four letters of 
the Vossian collection were forgeries. This rekindled 
the controversy. Dr. Christopher Wordsworth, afterwards 
Bishop of Lincoln, declared the newly-discovered version 
to be an epitome of the genuine letters made by an 
Eutychian heretic. This led Cureton to a fuller treat- 
ment of the (juestion. He had meanwhile discovered an 
additional MS. of the three epistles, brought, like the 
first-named, from the convent of St. Mary Deipara, and 
dating from at least the ninth century. He now published 
his great work Corpus Ignatianum (London, 1849), 
which contains a full treatment of the whole question. 
Cureton's view was supported by Bunsen and several 
eminent scholars. But it has failed to hold its ground. 
Apart from the fact that the seven letters of the Vossian 
collection were plainly known to Eusebius and Theodoret, 
they exhibit a perfect unity of authorship and st)le 
throughout. Cureton's theory requires us to suppose 
that the interpolator was able to reproduce in his additions 
to the letters the most subtle characteristics of language 
and grammar. A similar difficulty occurs when we 
examine the relation of Cureton's Syriac version to the 
Syriac version of the seven letters. The one is plainly 
derived from the other, and it is far more probable that 
the Curetonian Syriac version is an abridged form of the 
Syriac version of the seven letters, than that the latter 
is an expansion of the former. 

I'he works of Zahn {Ignatius von Antioc/iien, 1873) 
and of Bishop Lightfoot {Apostolic Fai/iers, Part II., 
Ignatius and Polycarp, 1885) have convincingly demon- 


strated the genuineness of the seven letters in the form 
edited by Voss, as against the claims of the Curetonian 
letters, and this conclusion has been generally accepted 
by modern scholars. 

The author of the Long Form probably wrote in 
Syria in the latter half of the fourth century. He has 
been identified by Harnack and Funk with the compiler 
of the Apostolic Constitutions. His doctrinal position 
is not altogether clear. Funk regards him as an Apolli- 
narian, Lightfoot as slightly leaning to Arianism. His 
object appears to have been to present, in the name of 
a primitive father, a conciliatory statement of doctrine 
to which men of all parties might assent (Lightfoot). 

The Curetonian Syriac version is probably due to the 
careless abridgment of the letters by some scribe, and 
represents * neither epitome nor extract, but something 
between the two.' ^ -Lightfoot is inclined to assign it to 
the sixth century. 


* There are no epistles in early Christian literature 
whose existence receives such early and excellent attest- 
ation as does that of the Ignatian epistles from the epistle 
of Polycarp ' (Harnack, Chrono/ogie, p. 400). The epistle 
of Polycarp to the Philippians was written some few 
weeks after the letters of Ignatius, and before the news 
of the martyrdom of Ignatius had reached Smyrna. It 
contains two references to Ignatius (cc. 9, 13). In the 
latter passage the writer says : * The letters of Ignatius 
sent to us by him, and all the rest which we had by us, 
we have sent to you, as you enjoined. They are attached 
to this letter.' This description corresponds with our 
present collection. Two letters were addressed to 
Smyrna, one to the Church, the other to Polycarp. 
Four others were written from Smyrna. The bearer of 
the letter to the Philadelphians, which was written from 
Troas, would probably pass through Smyrna. Thus it 
would be possible for copies of all the letters to be in 

^ Lightfoot, I. p. 325. 


Polycarp's possession, and the interchange of letters, 
which was already common in the churches in St. Paul's 
day (Col. iv. i6), would render the request of the 
Philippians and Polycarp's compliance natural. See 
further, Lightfoot, vol. i. pp. 336, 423 f. 

St. Irenaeus (c. 180 a.d.) quotes from Rom. 4. See 
V. 28. 4 : * As one of our own people said, when con- 
demned to the wild beasts on account of his testimony 
towards God, " I am God's grain, and I am ground by 
the teeth of wild beasts, that I may be found pure 
bread." ' 

Lightfoot and Harnack both refer to pissages in 
Clement of Alexandria (c. 190 — 210), which they think 
point to an acquaintance with these epistles. 

Origen, before the middle of the third century, shows 
clearly a knowledge of these epistles and their author. 
Thus in de Orat. 20, he appropriates the language 
of Rom. 3 : " Nothing that is visible is good." This, 
however, may have been a proverbial expression. But 
in two passages he claims to be quoting the very words 
of Ignatius — 

(i) In the Prologue to the Commentary on the Song of 
Songs (extant in the version of Rufinus) he says : * I 
remember that some one of the saints, Ignatius by name, 
said of Christ, " My love is crucified," nor do I think 
him deserving of censure for this.' See Rom. 7. 

(ii) In Horn, vi. in Lucam^ he quotes from Eph. 19, 
introducing the quotation by a reference to the letters 
and their author. His words are : * Well is it written 
in one of the letters of a certain martyr, Ignatius I mean, 
who was second bishop of Antioch after the blessed 
Peter, and who in the persecution fought with wild beasts 
at Rome.' Then follow the words, * Hidden from the 
prince of this world was the virginity of Mary ' (Eph. 19) . 
Origen thus clearly knew that — 

(i) Ignatius was second bibhop of Antioch. 

(ii) He suffered martyrdom at Rome. 

(iii) He wrote some epistles which were extant in 
Origen's time. 

Eusebius of Cpes^irea (c. 310 — 325) in his ChronicU 


states that Ignatius was second bishop of Antioch, and 
was martyred in the reign of Trajan. In his Ecclesias- 
tical History (iii. 22, 36) he shows an exact and detailed 
knowledge of Ignatius, his journey, his letters, the 
churches to which he wrote, and the tradition of his 
martyrdom at Rome. He also quotes from the epistles 
to the Romans and Smyrnaeans, and elsewhere {Quaest. 
ad Stephan. i.) from Ephesians. 

From the time of Eusebius there is full and varied 
evidence of the existence of the letters. The Syriac 
Version was in existence at the close of the fourth 
century, and an Armenian Version, translated from the 
Syriac, in the fifth century or rather later. 

Internally the letters bear clear evidence of the early 
date at which they were written. 

1 . The heresies attacked show plainly that the author 
had not in view the great Gnostic sects connected with 
Marcion, Basilides, or Valentinus. He shows no sign 
of attacking their distinctive systems, but on the contrary 
uses in certain places language which would have been 
unguarded and liable to be misunderstood if used by a 
later writer. See esp. Magn. 8 (note). In that passage, 
before the correct reading was pointed out, it was urged 
that Ignatius was attacking the Valentinian teaching upon 
Styi? or 'Silence.' The true reading disposes of that 
view, but uses language which no orthodox writer would 
have ventured upon, if living at a time when the Valen- 
tinian heresy was rife. On the early nature of the 
heresies attacked, see Add. Note i. These facts point 
to a date earlier than a.d. 140. 

2. In several passages Ignatius appears to be repeat- 
ing stereotyped expressions drawn from the Church 
tradition of his time. Whether they are derived from 
simple liturgical forms or Church teaching it is difficult 
to say. Harnack has drawn attention to them in an 
article in the Expositor iox December 1885. Many of 
these creed-like passages exhibit in their form great 
antiquity. Thus the words, * of the race (or seed) of 
David '(Eph. 18, 20, Trail. '9, Rom. 7, Smyrn. 1), the 
mention (Smyrn. i) of * Herod the tetrarch ' side by side 



with Pontius Pilate (cf. Acts iv. 27, also Justin, Dial, 
103, but absent from later writers), the inclusion of the 
baptism of Jesus by John (Eph. 18, Smyrn. i), when 
compared with the oldest form of the Apostles' Creed, 
from which these clauses are absent, point to a period 
quite early in the second century. 

3. The relation of these epistles to the books of the 
New Testament is a further indication of their early 
date. The manner in which the Gospel facts and say- 
ings are quoted points to an early period at which the 
written Gospels had not attained the unique pre-eminence 
held by them later on in the second century. There is 
no reference in the epistles to written Gospels, and in 
one case the author quotes from an extra-canonical 
source. See Smyrn. 3. This would show that oral 
tradition was still appealed to. 

4. Lightfoot sees a further indication of early date in 
the passage Smyrn. 8, from which he concludes that the 
Eucharist still formed part of the Agape, whereas in 
Justin's time {Ap. i. 65, 67) the two were separate. But 
this interpretation of Smyrn. 8 is open to criticism (see 
note on passage), and the argument cannot be pressed. 

The objections to the genuineness of these epistles 
are mainly concerned with their presentation of Church 
government and their witness to episcopacy. But the 
organization, as here presented, while it exhibits mon- 
archical episcopacy as fully established, and regards 
the bishop as the source of all ministerial authority,^ 
also shows indications of its early date. 

I. The picture presented of the bishop points to an 
early period when the area over which he exercised his 
rule was the congregation rather than the diocese, and 
when he was * the pastor of a flock, like a vicar of a 
modern town, in intimate relations with all his people.' ^ 
Hence too we find that the body of presbyters are in 
immediate and regular contact with him and assist him 
as a * council ' ^ in the work of administration. 

^ Smyrn. 8. 

* Gore, Church and Ministry^ p. 104. 

8 Magn. 6, Trail. 3, Philad. 8. 


2. A study of the types of authority to which Ignatius 
likens the authority of the bishop and the presbyters 
also affords an indication of early date. The fact that 
he regards the bishop as the representative of the Lord, 
while the presbyters represent the Apostles, indicates 
that he is writing at a time when the memory of the 
Lord's earthly life was fresh in the minds of men. In 
the bishop's office he sees a type of authority like that 
which was in the world when Christ went about in His 
ministry attended by the Apostles. 

3. Had these epistles been forged in the latter half 
of the second century, as Renan supposed, we should 
have expected them to reflect the conception of the 
ministry which is prominent in Christian writings of that 
period. Now in the writers of the latter half of the 
second century we find the bishops continually appealed 
to as the depositaries of Apostolic tradition. The 
bishops have received from the Apostles *the gift of 
truth.' This conception is found in the Clementine 
writings, in Hegesippus and in Irenaeus. But it is not 
the conception upon which the Ignatian epistles dwell. 
Yet if these letters had been written in the latter half 
of the second century it i? unlikely that his language 
would have shown so little trace of the ideas current 
at that time. 

The other objections urged on the ground of supposed 
anachronisms, such as the word * leopard' (Rom. 5) and 
the phrase * Catholic Church ' (Smyrn. 8), are dealt with 
in the notes. 

Each of the letters exhibits the same clearly marked 
individuality, and is connected by close and subtle links 
with the others. The Epistle to the Romans, however, 
stands apart from the others. It is of a purely personal 
character and deals with his coming martyrdom. Hence 
it contains no allusion to the subjects which occupy so 
large an amount of attention in other epistles, viz 
Church order and heresy. Its silence on these points 
is of value in refuting the idea that the letters are a late 
forgery having as their object the promotion of Episco- 
pacy. On that assumption it is difficult to see why the 


letter should have been included in a collection having 
such an object. To escape this difficulty Renan ad- 
mitted the genuineness of the Epistle to the Romans. 
Hut in its style the epistle shows clear traces of the 
same authorship as the others, and it is impossible to 
separate them. 

The epistles present a striking and original personality, 
surpassing in interest that of any other of the so-called 
Apostolic Fathers. 'I'he creation of such a character 
would have been a literary feat quite beyond the reach 
of a forger in the second or any following century. 

The year of the martyrdom of Ignatius can only be 
fixed within rough limits. Eusebius, as we have seen, 
states that Ignatius was martyred in the time of Trajan 
Origen's statement that he was second bishop of Antioch 
and fought with wild beasts at Rome * during the per- 
secution,' probably shows that he was acquainted with 
the same tradition and refers to the persecution under 
Trajan, for, as Harnack has shown {Chronologic^ p. 404), 
the date of the second bishop of Antioch cannot well 
be much later than that of the second bishop of 
Jerusalem, Simeon, who suffered martyrdom in the 
reign of Trajan (a.d. 98 — 117). 

Harnack finds another indication of the date in the 
relations of Ignatius to Polycarp. In the epistle ad- 
dressed to the latter, Ignatius plainly shows that he is 
writing to one who is a comparatively young man. At 
the time of his death Polycarp's age was eighty-six 
{Mart. Polyc, 9). This was in a.d. 155-6, and Polycarp 
would be between forty and fifty between a.d. iio — 120. 

Hence the date of the letters and the martyrdom may 
be fixed between a.d. iio — 117. 


Of the author of these epistles we possess little reliable 
information beyond what may be gathered from the 
epistles themselves. The Italian name Ignatius com- 
bined with the Greek title Theophorus may indicate, as 


Professor Ramsay ^ suggests, that * he belonged to a 
Syrian family, strongly affected by Western civilization, 
which had discarded native names/ It is clear from 
the nature of his punishment that he cannot have been 
a Roman citizen, in which case he would have been 
sent, like St. Paul, to Rome for trial, and, if condemned, 
would have been beheaded. I rom the scattered hints 
which the letters give, e.g. Rom. 9, *born out of due 
time,' and the expression, * last (of all),' found in E])h. 
21, Trail. 13, Smyrn. 11, we may conclude that his 
conversion was late in life. From Origen and Eusebius 
(see preceding section) we have learnt that he was 
second bishop of Antioch, being preceded by Euodius, 
and that he suffered martyrdom in the time of Trajan. 
The Acts recording his martyrdom exist in two forms, 
the Antiochene and Roman Acts, but both are cjuite 
late and untrustworthy. With their rejection we are 
left without any knowledge of the circumstances of his 
trial and condemnation, and the oft-quoted interview 
with Trajan becomes destitute of authority. From the 
epistles themselves we infer that Ignatius, like other 
martyrs before him (Eph. 12), who had been condemned 
to the beasts by the provincial governors, was being 
sent to Rome to suffer in the arena of the Coliseum. 
This great amphitheatre, built by the Flavian emperors, 
was the scene of these brutal sports on a gigantic scale, 
and it is a well-attested fact that criminals from the 
provinces were used for this purpose.^ From Polyc. 
F/iil. I, 9 we gather that other prisoners accompanied 
Ignatius, at least during a portion of his journey. His 
escort consisted of a maniple of soldiers, whom on 
account of their harsh treatment he compares to *ten 
leopards ' (Rom. 5). His letters reveal the true martyr- 
spirit. He declares that he is a willing victim.^ His 
death will speak more clearly to the world than ever 
his words have done in life. * If you be silent and 
leave me alone,' he writes to the Romans, * I shall 

* Ch. in JR. Empire^ p. 440, note. 

• See Ramsay, Ch, in A\ Empire^ p. 317 
' Rom. 4. 


become a word of God, but, if you desire my flesh, 
then shall I be again a mere cry.' ^ To the people of 
Smyrna he says, * Near to the sword, near to God ; in 
company with wild beasts, in company with God. Only 
let it be in the name of Jesus Christ, so that we may 
suffer together with Him/^ *It is,' he writes to Poly- 
carp, * the part of a great athlete to suffer blows and 
be victorious.'^ The route taken by his guards was 
probably overland by the Syrian and Cilician Gates to 
Smyrna, Troas, and Philippi, and thence to Rome. At 
some point in the journey the road branched in two 
directions, the southern route following the line of the 
great trade highway through Tralles, Magnesia, and 
Ephesus, while the more northern lay through Phila- 
delphia and Sardis. The latter was the route followed 
by the Roman guards, and after a stay at Philadelphia 
(Philad. I, 6, 7, 8), Ignatius reached Smyrna, where he 
was hospitably received by the Church and its bishop, 
Polycarp. Meanwhile messengers appear to have in- 
formed the churches lying on the southern route of the 
martyr's approaching visit to Smyrna, and accordingly 
delegates were sent to Smyrna to meet him from 
Ephesus, Magnesia, and Tralles. Their arrival appears 
to have greatly cheered Ignatius, and he accordingly 
addressed a letter to each of the churches from which 
they came, acknowledging their attentions and giving 
them practical counsel upon the dangers to which they 
were exposed.* At the same time he wrote a letter to 
the Church at Rome. The Roman Christians had heard 
of his journey from certain members of the Syrian 
church who had preceded him (Rom. 10), and he fears 
that some of their more influential members may exert 
themselves to procure a respite. He entreats them not 
to hinder him from * attaining unto God,' and expresses 
in exuberant and passionate language his desire for 
martyrdom. The next halting-place at which we hear 
of him is Troas, from which he wrote the three remain- 
ing letters, to the Philadelphians, to the Smyrnaeans, 

* Rom. 2. ^ Smyrn. 4. ^ Polyc. 3. 

* On the heresies attacked, see Add. Note i. 


and to Polycarp. All these letters were written after 
he had received the news that the persecution in Syria 
had ceased. He accordingly asks that delegates should 
be sent to Antioch with congratulations. From Polyc. 8 
we learn that he was on the point of sailing to Neapolis. 
The next mention of him is in Polycarp's letter to the 
Philippians (cc. 9, 13), in which he asks for tidings of 
Ignatius, who had passed through their city. Polycarp 
also states that he is sending them, at their request, 
a packet of the letters of Ignatius. This is the last we 
hear of him. His fame as a martyr spread through 
the East, and his letters were translated into Syriac, 
Armenian, and Coptic. Around his life and death 
there grew a wealth of legend. His name Theophorus 
gave rise to two such legends. One of these, not found 
before the end of the ninth century, evidently under- 
stands the name to mean *the God-borne,' and repre- 
sents Ignutius as the child whom our Lord took in 
. His arms (Mark ix. 36, 37). 

Another story, which comes from the Western Church 
and had a much more limited circulation, is founded 
upon the other sense of the name Theophorus, * God- 
bearer.' It is narrated by Vincent of Beauvais, who 
tells us that * when his heart was cut into small pieces, 
the name of the Lord Jesus Christ was found inscribed 
in golden letters on every single piece, as we read ; for 
he had said that he had Christ in his heart.' 

Various traditions connect him with one or other of 
the Apostles. Theodoret speaks of him as having 
* received the grace of the high-priesthood at the hand 
of the great Peter.' In the Apostolic Constitutions he 
is represented as having been ordained by St. Paul. 
Another and more widely-spread tradition represented 
him as a disciple of St. John. 

A story is told us of the episcopate of Ignatius by the 
historian Socrates, who wrote c. a.d. 440. He narrates 
{H, E. vi. 8) how Ignatius * saw a vision of angels, 
praising the Holy Trinity in antiphonal hymns, and left 
the fashion of his vision as a custom to the Church at 
Antioch.' Lightfoot thinks that this tradition may be 


traced to his language in such passages as Trail. 5, in 
which he speaks of his power to grasp heavenly things 
and the orders of angels, and also 10 his language in 
Eph. 4, Rom. 7.^ where he bids his readers form into 
a chorus and sing to the Father through Jesus Christ. 

The Acts of his martyrdom ^ gave currency in East 
and West to the story of his intervievv with the Emperor 
Trajan, a story which, as we have seen, has no inde- 
pendent authority apart from the spurious Acts in which 
it is contained. The same Acts in like manner per- 
petuated the varying traditions of East and West as to 
the disposal of the reliques. In the latter part of the 
fourth century his festival was kept in Syria and Greece 
on October 17^ and the grave containing his reliques 
was shown in the Christian cemetery at Antioch. It 
was on one of these anniveisaries that the great preacher, 
Chrysostom, while a presbyter at Antioch, delivered an 
oration on the martyr, in which he shows evident tokens 
of a belief in the translatic-n of the reliques from Rome 
to Antioch. In the fifth century the reliques were 
transferred with great pomp, by order of the Emperor, 
the younger Theodosiiis, to the old Temple of Fortune, 
known henceforth as the Church of Ignatius. The date 
of his festival came to be transferred to December 20th, 
which was probably the date of the translation of the 
reliques to their new resting-place. In later times this 
anniversary was kept as a public festival at Antioch, 
and was celebrated with rites of great magnificence. 

In the West, December 1 7th was at first kept as the 
day of the martyrdom, but finally this date was assigned 
to the translation of the reliques, and the festival of the 
martyrdom was kept on February ist. 


Thk splendid example of the Christian martyr-spirit 
was not the only legacy of Ignatius to the Church. In 
the epistles which have come down to us he has pre- 
sented to us the picture of a lofty, spiritual character, 

* On these Acts of the martyrdom, see Add. Note 3. 


and has bequeathed to us a body of teaching, which 
has given him a foremost place among the 'Apostolic 

The doctrinal and controversial interest of his writings 
must not be allowed to obscure the profoundly spiritual 
character which lies behind them. The letters abound 
in maxims and in passages of great spiritual beauty. 
They present to us a man, who has a keen insight into 
the practical significance of the Incarnation and the 
fresh, spiritual value which it has given to material 
things. He can say even of the simple events of daily 
life, * Those things which you do after the flesh are 
spiritual, for you do all things in Jesus Christ.' ^ Though 
he is the uncompromising champion of Church order 
and the ministry, we find him saying, *Let not office 
puff up any man, for faith and love are all in all.'^ 
Amid all his insistence upon outward unity, he does 
not forget to remind us that the inner principle of union 
is God Himself.^ So again, he loves to dwell on the 
* silence' of God's working.^ To Ignatius, Christ and 
His Cross are all in all. In the Passion of Jesus Christ 
lies the power which draws his heart from all earthly 
longings.^ Hence his one aspiration, expressed a ;ain 
and again, is *that I may attain unto God.' And yet 
throughout there breathes a deep spirit of humility. He 
is *one born out of due time,' ^ *the last (of all).'^ 
Though at the close of a long career, he writes, * Now 
I am beginning to be a disciple.' ® 

His teaching reflects the natural character and circum- 
stances of its author. Thus the deep vein of mysticism 
which pervades these letters may be partly due to the 
intense and fervid Oriental character of the writer. 
Again, the influences of heathen training show them- 
selves to some degree in the form in which he appre- 
hended Christianity. The idea of union with God, and 
the conception of redemption as deliverance from death 

* Eph. 8. * Smyrn. 6. 

» Trail. II. * Eph. 15, 19. 

* See Rom. 7. ^ Rom. 9. 
' Eph. 21, Trail. 13, Rom. 9. Eph. 3. 


and the power of demons, present points of contact with 
the religious ideas of the heathen world, as we know it 
in the first and second centuries, and are such as 
would naturally attract a convert from heathenism. 
And further, if we could trust the later tradition, which 
is not impossible so far as dates are concerned (though 
worthless in itself), that St. John was the teacher of 
Ignatius, we should find a natural explanation of the 
close relationship between his thought and that of the 
Johannine writings. 

As compared with later teaching, the theology of 
Ignatius, like that of the other * Apostolic Fathers,' 
exhibits in some respects an immature and undeveloped 
character. It was only slowly that men came to sound 
the depths of the teaching of St. Paul and St. John, 
and to grasp the eternal relations of the truths revealed 
in time. Hence we find in Ignatius a use of doctrinal 
terms, which would have been avoided by the more 
exact theology of a later age. Instances are the phrases, 
* the blood of God,' ^ * the passion of my God,' - and the 
word *unoriginate,'^ which, as applied to our Lord, 
might seem to deny the Eternal Generation. There is 
also an absence of any references to the work of the 
Son of God in the world before the Incarnation (except, 
perhaps, in Magn. 8), and of the doctrine of His agency 
in Creation such as we find in St. Paul. While Ignatius 
applies to Him the title * Logos' or * Word,' ^ and else- 
where speaks of Him as * the Mind of the Father,' ^ and 
*the unerring Mouth whereby the Father spake ;/ ^ 
while, moreover, he asserts the Divine Sonship, and 
once uses the phrase, * the Only Son,' '^ yet he nowhere 
speaks of the eternal relations of this Divine Sonship 
to the Fatherhood of God, beyond the mere fact of the 
Son's pre-existence with the Father.® How far the 
human nature was complete, whether Christ had a 
human soul, how the two natures are united in One 
Person, these are (juestions which lie outside the scope 

' Eph. I. 2 i^o„, 6 3 Ep^,^ 7. 

* Magn. 8. » Eph. 3. « Rom. 8. 

' Rom. inscr. ® Polyc. 3, Magn. 6. 


and grasp of the teaching of Ignatius. Nor again do 
the epistles present us with a theology of the Cross, or 
attempt to sound the depths of St. Paul's teaching upon 
the Death of Christ. The idea of * justification' is 
found only in two passages, /. e. Rom. 5 and Phi lad. 8, 
and only in the latter of these is it used in connection 
with the Passion. The word * propitiation ' does not 
occur, and there is only one mention of * forgiveness ' 
in connection with repentance, in Philad. 8. It is not 
maintained that Ignatius ignored the teaching associated 
with such language. His repeated references to the 
Cross and Passion imply the contrary. But his par- 
ticular contribution to Christian thought and teaching 
lay in another direction, and he was content accordingly 
to repeat, without developing, the simple language of 
his time upon the Death of Christ. 

Such are some of the limits within which the teaching 
of these epistles moves. But when we come to their 
positive contents, we find that they witness to a Church 
tradition which is singularly full and varied, and, above 
all, they present a view of the Person of Jesus Christ, 
which is richer and more complete than anything to 
be found in the writings of the other 'Apostolic 

With regard to the former of these, the witness of the 
epistles to the Church tradition of their time, we may 
quote the language of Dr. Harnack {Chronologie, p. xi).- 
Speaking of the epistles of St. Clement and St. Ignatius, 
he says : * He who diligently studies these letters cannot 
fail to perceive what a fulness of traditions, subjects of 
preaching, doctrines, and forms of organization already 
existed in the time of Trajan, and in individual churches 
had attained a secure position.' Among the contents of 
this Church tradition, we may notice the reference to the 
Threefold Name in Magn. 13 (cf. Eph. 9, Philad. inscr.). 
When we come to the historical facts of the Lord's 
earthly life, we find, first of all, a clear and emphatic 
witness to the Virgin birth. *The virginity of Mary and 
her child-bearing ' formed two of the * three mysteries,' 
* wrought in the silence of God,' but now * to be 


proclaimed aloud.' ^ Against the Docetic heretics he is 
never weary of emphasizing, in language that presents 
the appearance of being derived either from liturgical 
formulae or short creed-like statements,'^ the Virgin-birth, 
the Davidic descent, the baptism by John, the crucifixion 
under Pontius Pilate and Herod the tetrarch, and the 
resurrection. See esp. the two passages. Trail. 9, Smyrn. 
I, 2. He mentions the star seen at the birth of Jesus 
Christ,^ and dwells upon the intercourse of the Lord, 
after His Resurrection, with the Apostles.* Of interest 
too is the reference to the descent into Hades in Magn. 
9 (cf. Philad. 5, 9). He nowhere speaks of the actual 
fact of the Ascension, although it is presupposed in 
Magn. 7. But, for the purposes which he had in hand, 
it did not possess the same immediate interest as the 
facts of the Birth, Passion, and Resurrection, which 
witness to the reality of the Lord's human nature. The 
references to the Second Coming of the Lord are very 
slight. See Eph. 15, and compare the expression in 
Rom. 10, * patient abiding for Jesus Christ.' Ignatius 
speaks' of the Holy Spirit in language which plainly 
shows that he regarded Him as distinct from the Father 
and the Son Cf. Magn. 13. He speaks of Him as 
* from God,' ^ and regards the miraculous conception of 
Jesus Christ as wrought through His agency.® Else- 
where he dwells upon His work of sanctification in the 
. Church. See especially the striking passage in Eph. 9,. 
and cf. Philad. inscr., Magn. 13. In Philad. 7, Ignatius 
claims to have received personal revelations from the 

In two passages Ignatius refers to ordinances of the 
Apostles. In Magn. 1 3 the readers are bidden to stand 
fast *in the ordinances of the Lord and the Apostles.' 
In Trail. 7 they are urged to be * inseparable from Jesus 
Christ and the bishop, and the ordinances of the 

When we come to examine the relation of these letters 
to the Canon of Scripture, we find very strong traces of 

^ Eph. 19. *^ See p. 17. ' Eph. 19. 

* Smyrn. 3. ^ Philad. 7. « Eph. 18. 


the influence of the thoughts and idc as preserved for us 
in the books of the New Testament, but comparatively 
few traces of actual quotation from any of the writers of 
the New Testament. The cast of thought shows strong 
affinities with the ideas of the Johannine writings and 
the later epistles of St. Paul, especially St. Paul's Epistle 
to the Ephesians. But it is difficult to prove that 
Ignatius is in any passage quoting from the Fourth 
Gospel. The contrasts between life and death, God 
and the prince of this world, and the emphasis on 
knowledge and faith, truth and lov^, move in the same 
circles of ideas as the Fourth Gospel. Again, the refer- 
ence to Christ as *the Door' (Philad. 9), the phrases 
*the bread of God,' * living water' (Rom. 7), lastly the 
words in Philad. 7, 'the Spirit is from (}od. I'or 
it knoweth whence it cometh and whither it goeth,' 
present striking parallels to the language of the Gospel, 
and suggest that either Ignatius was familiar with the 
Gospel, or that he had lived in surroundings where the 
ideas and teaching representefd in our present Gospel 
were current. Lastly, there is the possibility already 
referred to above (p. 26), that Ignatius had been a 
disciple of St. John. For the suggested parallel with 
John xii. 3 found in Eph. 17, see note on that passage. 
The allusions of Ignatius to the actions and words of 
the Lord exhibit a tradition most closely akin to that 
found in St. Matthew's Gospel, with which these epistles 
exhibit more numerous parallels than with any other 
N. T. writing. In no passage does he allude definitely 
to written gospels, though Philad. 5 seems to point to 
a collection of apostolic writings In one instance ^ he 
quotes from an apocryphal source, whether written or 
traditional we cannot tell. For the passage Eph. 19, 
see notes. With the epistles of St. Paul there are many 
parallels pointing to the author's acquaintance with 
them, though without actual quotation. In Eph. 12 
the author directly speaks of St. Paul and his epistles. 
For further parallels with books of the New Testament, 
see Index of Scriptural passages. We may say in con- 

^ Smyrn. 3. 


elusion that the epistles point to a period in which the 
New Testament writings, though current, had not super- 
seded the oral tradition of the Church, as an authority 
and standard of teaching. 

For his attitude towards the Old Testament, see Magn. 
8 — lo, Phi lad. 5, 8, 9, with notes. 

Ignatius' conception of the Christian faith is more 
striking than that of any sub-apostolic writer. He starts 
not from Creation or the Old Testament but from the 
revelation of God in Christ. In Christ's appearing God 
has revealed Himself in man, the Eternal in time, the 
Spiritual in the material.^ The antithesis of 'spirit' and 
* flesh,' which is conceived of as reconciled in Christ, 
runs through the whole theology of Ignatius.- The 
whole earthly life of Christ has a place in the mystery 
of redemption, which has a significance for the whole 
Creation.^ Thus he speaks of * the virginity of Mary, 
and her child-bearing, likewise also the death of the 
Lord,' as * three mysteries to be proclaimed aloud.'* 
It is the Person and not merely the teaching of Christ, 
which is of importance. He is *our God,' *my God,' 
*God in man,' though never apparently called God 
absolutely without some defining words.* The con- 
troversial pmrpose of the letters leads Ignatius to lay 
special stress upon the reality of the human nature of 
Christ. The Docetae, whom he is attacking, conceived 
of the existence of Christ in a purely metaphysical way, 
as a spiritual or ideal existence. Against this view 
Ignatius sets the historical Christ, whose appearing in 
human form becomes the medium of God's revelation 
and alone guarantees its truth to man. Hence he 
emphasizes the facts of His earthly life. The Coming 
of the Saviour, His Passion and His Resurrection are the 
three points which distinguish the Gospel from all earlier 
teaching.** Through the Cross, Death, and Resurrection 

' See esp. Eph. 7, Polyc. 3. 

2 Cf. Eph. 8, Magn. i, 13, Polyc. 2. 

8 Trail. 9, Smyrn. 6. * Eph. 19. 

''' Cf. Eph. inscr., i, 7, 18, Rom. inscr., Smyrn. I, Polyc. 8. 

" Philnd. 9, cf. Magn. 1 1. 


he seeks to be justified.^ Especially prominent is the 
place which he assigns to the Passion. In the inscrip- 
tions to two letters (Philad., Trail.) he speaks of the 
Churches addressed, as 'rejoicing in the Passion' and 

* at peace in flesh and spirit through the Passion of Jesus 
Christ.' 2 The Blood of Christ reveals God's love.^ In 
Smyrn. 6 he Sjieaks of Christ as suffering * for our sins,' 
and in Eph. 18 he associates Baptism with the cleansing 
power of the Passion.* In addition to these incidental 
allusions, he shows acquaintance in one passage^ with 
the ideas represented in the Epistle to the Hebrews. 
Christ is * the High Priest, Who has been entrusted with 
the Holy of Holies,' but Ignatius immediately connects 
this thought with that of Christ as the * Door ' of the 
Father, a conception which we find in John x. 9. In 
Philad. 8, 11, he speaks of being delivered from * every 
bond,' and being * ransomed' by the grace of Jesus 
Christ. In these respects he echoes the traditional 
language of his time. The ideas, however, which chiefly 
occupy his thoughts are that the Death and Resurrection 
of Christ have annihilated death, have freed man from 
the power of evil,® and have given him the assurance of 
eternal life through union with God in Christ. Christ, 

* our life,' ' has passed through death, and life is assured 
to those who believe in Him and are united with Him. 
Hence Christians are * branches of the Cross.' ® Thus 
his teaching presents points of contact with St. John, and 
with the later, rather than the earlier, teaching of St. 
Paul. St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians exhibits the 
nearest point of contact between Ignatius and St. Paul. 
In this connection notice especially the language of Eph. 
19, 20 upon *the new man,' and of Trail, ir upon *the 
one Body.' 

The reconciliation of the antithesis between * flesh ' 
and * spirit' through the union of God and man in Christ 
is realized practically by Christians in the life of faith 

1 Philad. 8. 2 Qf Epi,^ jngcr. 

» Trail. 8, Rom. 7. •* Cf also Trail. li, Rom. 6. 

* Philad. 9. • E|)h. 19, Philad. 8. 

' Eph. 3, Smyrn. 4. *^ Trail. 11. 


and love.^ But it finds its fullest expression in the unity 
of the Church, which represents Christ and shares His 
life and twofold nature.^ Hence the unity of the Church 
is at once * of flesh ' and *of spirit.'^ The insistence of 
Ignatius upon the visible unity of the Church is not 
adequately explained by the pressure of heresy. That 
he was led to give special emphasis to it by the dangers 
of his time is undoubtedly true. But it is plainly a 
consequence of his belief in the principle of the Incarna- 
tion, the reconciliation of the outward and the inward, 
of * spirit ' and '* flesh,' of * God ' and ' man.' The Catholic 
Church is the Body of Christ, and secures the perpetual 
communication of the One Life of Christ* To impair 
the unity of the Church by false teaching and separatism 
is to cut oneself off" from the Passion and the sacramental 
life- of the Church.^ 

The individual churches represent locally the universal 
Church. As Jesus Christ is the Head of the universal 
Church, so is the bishop the head of the local Church.® 
He is God's representative,^ as being the chief member 
of the local representation of that Church which is the 
Body of Christ. Hence the bishops are spoken of as 
being *in the mind of Jesus Christ.'® They represent, 
and carry on that reconciliation of * flesh ' and * spirit,' 
which is assured through the Incarnation. Thus Ignatius 
writes to Polycarp : * Therefore you are of flesh and 
spirit, that you may humour the things which are visibly 
present before your face.' ® The ministry in the Ignatian 
epistles shows a more developed character than that 
described in the books of the New Testament and the 
writings of the sub-apostolic age. In the New Testament 
we find that the administration of the local churches 
was in the hands of a body of officials who are some- 

^ Eph. 8, 14, Smyrn. 6, 13. ^ Smyrn. I, Eph. 5, 17. 

^ Epb. 10, Magn. i, 13, Rom. in«^cr., Smyrn. 12, cf. Eph. 7. 

^ Smyrn. 8, Eph. 5, Trail. 11. 

^ Philad. 3, Smyrn. 6, 8. « Smyrn. 8. 

' Kph. 6, Magn. 3, Trail. 2, 3. ^ Eph. 3, cf. Philad. inscr. 

'•^ Polyc. 2. 


times spoken of as presbyters and sometimes as * bishops ' 
(episcopi)y We find a similar use of terms when we pass 
beyond the New Testament. The local ministry consists 
of * bishops and deacons' (Didache), or * presbyters and 
deacons ' (Polycarp, ad Philipp. 5, 6), while Clement of 
Rome sometimes speaks of * presbyters ' and sometimes 
of * bishops/ when he is referring apparently to the same 
office. But in no case do we read of a single * bishop ' 
as the resident head of a local community. On the 
other hand, in the position of St. James at Jerusalem 
(Acts xii. 17, XV. 2, xxi. 18) we have what appears to be 
an anticipation of the functions (though the name does 
not appear) of the * bishop' of the Ignatian epistles, 
seeing that St. James is represented as head or president 
of a body of presbyters who control the local affairs of 
the Church and through whom all communications with 
the Church take place. This position, however, appears 
to have been peculiar to Jerusalem. Elsewhere the 
Apostles appear to have exercised a general superin- 
tendence over the churches which they had founded, 
and in the Pastoral Epistles we find Timothy and Titus 
receiving a commission (probably temporary) from St. 
Paul to act as * apostolic delegates ' and to ordain clergy 
and administer discipline in the churches of Ephesus 
and Crete. In the Didache we hear also of itinerant 
apostles, prophets, and teachers, who visit the local 
church, and directions are given that, if a prophet wishes 
to settle among them, he is to be accorded a position of 
pre-eminence. At the same time injunctions arc given 
that * bishops and deacons ' are to be held in honour 
* for they also minister to you the ministry of prophets 
and teachers.' In this picture we see a survival of the 
honour and esteem in which the special gifts of missionary 
apostles and Christian prophets were held, and a dis- 
position to rank on a lower level the local ministry of 
office.*^ But as the Apostles and early missionaries 

^ For a fuller discussion, see Additional Note 2. 
* On the v.ilue of the testimony of ihe Didache, see Dean Robinson 
in Essays on the Early history of the Church and Ministry^ p. 68. 



passed away, and the gift of prophecy became rare,^ the 
local ministry absorbed many of the permanent functions 
exercised by these earlier ministries. These new con- 
ditions are reflected in the Ignatian epistles. 

(i) There is no trace of the itineraht ministry of 
apostles and prophets which we find in the Didache, 
and we read only of the local threefold ministry of 
bishops, priests, and deacons. 

(ii) At the head of each church thore is a single 
bishop, who is superior to the presbyters, though closely 
associated with them. The bishop alone can give the 
requisite authority for the performance of ministerial 
acts.^ The monarchical character of his office is clearly 
shown by the, comparison of the bishop to * the Father ' 
or * Jesus Christ,' while the presbyters represent the 
Apostles. On this comparison see antea^ p. 19. 

(iii) The bishop's office is localized and he is perman- 
ently attached to the local church. Ignatius mentions 
the bishops of the cities of Ephesus, Magnesia, Tralles, 
Philadelphia and Smyrna. Of a diocese, in the later 
sense of the word, there is no trace,^ and the bishop's 
authority is not, like that of the Apostles, of a general, 
undefined character, but is limited to a particular 

I'hus in the Ignatian Epistles we find the three orders 
of bishops, priests, and deacons. The bishop's office 
appears for the first time under the name by which it has 
since been known in history, although, as we have seen, 
there is something like an anticipation of the position 
occupied by him in the presidency of St. James in the 
Church of Jerusalem. 

There are a few other facts which may be noticed 
about the ministry in the Ignatian Epistles. 

^ Ignatius, however, claims the gift of prophecy in Philad. 7. 
See note. 

^ Smyrn. 8. 

' In Rom. 2 Ignatius calls himself * bishop of Syria,' and else- 
where he refers to the * Church of Syria' and its connection with 
himself. CI. Eph. 21, Magn. 14, Rom. 9, Trail. 13. Probably 
tlu re was only one Christian centre in Coele-Syria at this time, in 
which case * Syria ' is a synonym of Antioch. See note Rom. 2. 


1. Closely associated with the bishops, and forming a 

* spiritual coronar about him, are the presbyters, and 
with them the deacons. The bishop's authority, though 
monarchical, * is very far from being autocratic' ^ In his 
administration the presbyters form a * council ' ^ around 
him as *the strings to a harp.'^ The writer is scarcely 
less emphatic in asserting the duty of obedience to the 
presbyters than he is to the bishop. If the bishop repre- 
sents the Lord, the presbyters represent the Apostles.* 
Ignatius bids his readers be subject to the bishop * as 
unto the grace of God,' and to the presbytery *as unto 
the law of Jesus Christ.'® 

Similarly he bids his readers obey the deacons. The 
three orders together form a central authority, so that 

* without these there is no church deserving the name.' ^ 

2. Ignatius tells us little of the source of the bishop's 
authority or of the way in which such authority was 
delegated to him. He speaks of the bishops as repre- 
senting the authority of Christ, though never as succeeding 
to the Apostles. On the other hand, he compares the 
presbyters to the Apostles, though he is thinking of the 
Apostles in their relation to Christ during His ministry 
and not as they were after the Ascension, when they 
themselves became the representatives of Christ. "^ The 
only passage in which it has been suggested that Ignatius 
claims apostolic authority for the bishop's office is Trail. 
7, where he urges them to be * inseparable from J^sus 
Christ and the bishop and the ordinances of the Apostles.' 
In this last phrase Lighlfoot sees a reference to the 
institution of episcopacy (see note on the passage). 
Similarly in Trail. 1 2 Ignatius bids them * severally, 
and especially the presbyters, refresh the bishop to the 
honour of the Father and of Jesus Christ and of the 

3. The language of the epistles does not support the 
view of Ramsay and others, that episcopacy is insisted 

Lightfoot, I, p. 397. 2 Sec aniea^ p. 18. 

® Eph. 4. * Magn. 6, Trail. 2, 3, Smyrn. 8. 

** Magn. 2. « Trail. 3. 

' See Gore, Churchjand Ministry^ pp. 303, 304. 


on so strongly in these letters because Ignatius recog 
nized it as a new and valuable institution, which he 
desired to see established everywhere.^ From other 
sources, indeed, it would seem that a representative of 
the episcopal order was not established in every city 
church at this time, as in the case of Philippi, in writing 
to which Church Polycarp only makes mention of their 
presbyters and deacons.^ But when we study the Igna- 
tian epistles themselves, we see no trace of an idea that 
the episcopal office is of recent introduction. The writer 
speaks of the * bishops established in the furthest 
quarters.' ^ Without the three orders of bishops, pres- 
byters, and deacons * there is no church deserving the 
name.'* Nor can we draw any argument from the 
absence of any mention of the bishop in the Epistle 
to the Romans. That epistle is of a purely personal 
character, and it is written with reference to the action 
of certain members of the Church of Rome, who were 
anxious to procure a respite for Ignatius. He nowhere 
salutes or makes mention of any of the officers of the 
Church in that city, whether bishop, presbyters, or 
deacons. Hence no argument can fairly be drawn from 
the absence of all mention of the ministry in the Roman 
Church, in favour of the idea that the Church at Rome 
did not possess a representative of one of the three 
orders, i.e, a bishop. 

The repeated insistence by Ignatius on the duty of 
obedience to this threefold ministry was occasioned by 
the danger arising in his day from the heretical and 
separatist tendencies of the Docetic and Judaic parties. 
But it has its roots in that idea of the Church and its 
unity which we have already described. The same 
principle, the union of * flesh ' and * spirit,' of outward 
and inward, appears in his language upon the Eucharist 
in Philad. 4, Smyrn. 6, 8. On the one hand, he uses 
clear and definite language as to the nature of the gift 
received in the sacrament. The Eucharist is * the flesh 
of Christ,' * the gift of God,' * the medicine of immor- 

1 Ch. in A'. Etfip.^YiV- 370 foil. ^ Poiyc, Phil. 5. 

» Eph. 3. .* Trail. 3. 


tality ' ; the * one cup ' brings us into * union with the 
Blood ' of Christ. On the other hand, there is a strong 
vein of mysticism in his teaching, which leads him to 
speak of * faith ' as the * flesh ' of Christ, and * love ' as * the 
blood ' of Christ (Trail. 8, Rom. 7). The dangers of 
the time led Ignatius to an emphatic warning to his 
readers to guard the sacramental unity of the Church, 
which was broken by the separatists. They are to 
assemble at the * one altar.' ^ Without the bishop's 
authority they are not * to baptize or hold a love-feast.' 
His authority alone gives * validity* and * security ' to 
whatever is done.' ^ 

For his language on baptism, see Eph. 18, Smyrn. 8, 
Polyc. 6. 

The teaching of Ignatius upon the Incarnation, as a 
fact and as a principle, has its roots in the teaching of St. 
Paul and St. John, and was taken up by later Fathers. 
At the close of the second century it finds expression in 
St. Irenseus. Once more, amid the perils arising from 
Arianism, St. Athanasius, in the fourth century, seized 
upon its leading idea, that in Jesus Christ God Himself 
has entered our human nature, in order to reveal Him- 
self to man and endow man with the gift of eternal life. 
In that faith has lain the secret of * the victory that over- 
cometh the world.' 

Once again, when Ignatius asserted that in the Incar- 
nation was effected the reconciliation of * flesh ' and 
* spirit,' of the material and the spiritual, he stated a 
principle that has found expression in the life and worshi[) 
of the Catholic Church. Gnosticism and later mysticism 
alike have emphasized the opposition between spirit and 
matter, and have tended to despiritualize the material. 
In the Middle Ages men were inclined to confuse the 
two, and so to materialize the spiritual. In her unchang- 
ing faith and the permanent elements of her life and 
worship, the Church witnesses to the truer view, and 
reconciles the antithesis. In * the Word made flesh ' we 
see the promise of the consummation of all things. 

^ Eph. 5 20, Magn. 7, Trail. 7, Philad. 4 (wiih notes). 
2 Smyrn. 8. 


[Kphesus was the capital uf the Roman province of Asia, and 
was the port whicli conducted in Roman times most of the trade 
of the great highway Iciding from ihe East lo the yEgjean. There 
is probably an allusion lo this great trade-route in Eph. 12. The 
city was naturally chosen by St. Paul as a centre for missionary 
labours. See Acts xviii., xix. Christianity spread rapidly, and 
Ephesus is mentioned first among the seven churches of Asia in the 
book of Revelation (Rev. i. 11, ii. i). A tradition dating from the 
last quarter of the second century represents St. John as spending 
his later years at Ephesus (see c. 11, note). Ignatius had not 
visited Ephesus, but the Church had sent delegates to him at 
Smyrna. The present letter was written from Smyrna to thank 
them for their kindly interest in him. He reminds them of their 
glorious history (cc. 8, 11, 12), and praises them for their adher- 
ence to the truth and their regard for order (c. 6). At the same 
time he .warns them against false teachers who had been passing 
through Ephesus (c. 9). He urges upon them the importance, in 
face of heresy, of faith in the historical manifestation of Jesus Christ, 
a more frequent use of corporate worship, and adherence to the 
bishop. From the language of cc. 7, 18, 19, 20, and the opening 
inscription (see notes), it would seem that the heresy alluded to 
was Docetic. There are no references to Judaism.] 

Ignatius, who is also Theophorus,^ to her that is 
blessed with greatness ^ through, the fulness ® of God 

* Probably a title adopted by Ignatius himself to remind him of 
his Christian calling. The word may bear an active or a pas^^ive 
me.ining, * bearing God' or * borne (or inspired) by God,' according 
as we reati it Beo<p6pos or deStpopos. In favour of the active mean- 
ing it may be u»ged, (i) Ignatius in c. 9 uses the word in this 
sense. (2) The word was commonly interpreted in this sense in 
the following centuries. Thus, in the Antiochene Acts of the 
Martyrdom, c. 2, when Trajan asks, * Who is he that beareth God? ' 
Ignatius replies, * He that hath Christ in his breast.' (3) The 
idea thus contained in the word was common in early writers. 
Cf. the early Latin reading of i Cor. vi. 20, * glorify atid bear God 
in your body,' found also in Tertullian and Cyprian. From the 
]>assive sense, 'borne by God' arose the tradition that Ignatius 
was the child whom our Lord took up in His arms (Mark ix. 36). 
'•Ihe word 'greatness* refers to the spiritual growth of the 
Church at Ephesus. 

The word 'fulness,' ox pkroma^ is the word used in John i. 16, 



the Father, foreordained before the ages to be con- 
tinually for abiding and unchangeable glory ; united and 
chosen out by a passion truly suffered/ through the 
will of the Father and Jesus Christ our God; to the 
Church which is at Ephesus [in Asia], worthy of con- 
gratulation, heartiest greeting in Jesus Christ and in joy 
that is without reproach. 

I. I welcomed in God your dearly loved name,^ which 
is yours by nature* [in an upright and just mind] by 
faith and love towards Christ Jesus our Saviour. Being 
imitators of God, you were kindled into action by the 
blood of God, and perfectly fulfilled a task which 
accorded with your nature. For when you heard * that 
I was come from Syria in bonds for the Name and 
hope common to us all, and that I was hoping by your 
prayer to attain my purpose of fighting with wild beasts 
at Rome, that through my attaining I may be enabled 
to be a disciple, you were anxious to visit me. I 
received therefore your numerous body* in the name 
of God in the person of Onesimus, whose love surpasses 

tiom. XV. 29, Eph. i. 23, etc. It denotes, in the language of St. 
Paul anil '8t. John, the whole sum of the Divine attributes. Out 
of the Divine fulness each man receives the gifts and graces needed 
for the spiritual life. The word * fulness,' as also the words 
'blessed,' * foreordained,' ^glor)',' * chosen out,* 'the will [of the 
Father],' are perhaps reminiscences of the opening verses of St. 
Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians. 

* The words * truly suffered ' are an allusion to the Docetic error. 

* The word * name ' is used in the sense of * character.' 

* This character was due to natural gifts rather than training or 
accidental circumstances. The words in brackets have been added 
by Light foot from the abridged Syriac version, having probably 
fallen out at a time earlier than any existing copies of the 
Greek text. 

** Probably at the point where Ignatius' guards took the northern 
route through Philadelphia, instead of the southern route through 
Tralles, Magnesia, and Ephesus, messengers were sent to inform 
those Churches of Ignatius' approaching visit to Smyrna. 

* In receiving their bishop Onesimus, Ignatius received the 
whole Church which he represented. 


words, who is, besides, in the flesh your bishop. I pray 
that you may love him with a love according to Jesus 
Christ, and that you may all be like him. For blessed 
is He Who granted unto you, worthy as you are, to 
possess such a bishop. 

II. Concerning my fellow-servant Burrhus,^ who by 
God's appointment is your deacon and is blessed in 
all things, I pray that he may remain here unto the 
honour of yourselves and the bishop. And Crocus, 
who is worthy of God and of you, whom I received 
as a pattern of the love borne by you, has relieved me 
in all things — may the Father of Jesus Christ in like 
manner refresh ^ him — along with Onesimus and Bur- 
rhus and Euplus and Fronto, in whose presence my 
love saw you all. May I have joy of you all continually, 
if I be worthy. So then it is fitting in every way to 
glorify Jesus Christ Who has glorified you, that in 
one obedience you may be perfectly joined together, 
submitting yourselves to the bishop and to the pres- 
bytery, and may in all thmgs be found sanctified. 

III. I do not command you, as though I were 
somewhat. For even though I be bound in the Name, 
I have not yet become perfected in Jesus Christ. For 
now I am making a beginning of discipleship, and I 
address you as my fellow-disciples.® For it were meet 
for me to be anointed by you* for the contest with 

* For Burrhus, cf. Philad. 1 1, Smyrn. 12, from which we see 
that the request of Ignatius was granted. 

* Probably a reminiscence of 2 Tim. i. 16. 

* The word used here (<ri;i'5i5o(r/foAtToi) is understood by Light- 
foot and Zihn to mean 'school-ftdlows.' The word is not found 
elsewhere, but Light foot adduces in iUustration a Latin word found 
in inscriptions, * compedagogita,' which is used in the plural to 
denote slaves trained in the snme school or under the same master. 
The master in this ca>e is Christ. 

* The anointing of the athlete w<ns the work of the trainer. 
Cf. Rom. 3. In both passages the idea is that the Church alluded 


faith, admonition, patience, long-suffering. But^ since 
love does not suffer me to be silent concerning you, 
I have therefore hastened to exhort you to set yourselves 
in harmony with the mind of God. For even Jesus 
Christ, our inseparable Life, is the Mind of the Father, 
as also the bishops, established in the furthest quarters,^ 
are in the mind of Jesus Christ. * 

IV. Hence it is fitting for you to set yourselves in 
harmony with the mind of the bishop, as indeed you 
do. For your noble presbytery, worthy of God, is fitted 
to the bishop, as the strings to a harp. And thus by 
means of your accord and harmonious love Jesus Christ 
is sung.2 Form yourselves one and all into a choir, that 
blending in concord, taking the key-note of God, you 
may sing in unison with one voice through Jesus Christ 
to the Father, that He may hear you and recognize by 
means of your well-doing that you are members of His 
Son. Therefore it is profitable for you to live in 
unblameable unity, that you may be also partakers of 
God continually. 

V. For if I in a short space of time had such inter- 
course with your bishop, not after the common way of 
men, but after the spirit, how much more do I con- 

to had encouraged and instructed, by example and precept, the 
martyrs of Christ. Ephesus was, in Ignatius' phrase, ' the highway 
of martyrs' (c. 12). I'risoners condemned to the wild beasts in 
the Roman amphitheatre, coming from the East, ^*ould in most 
cases sail from the port of Ephesus to Ostia. Ramsay (Ch. in 
A\ Emp.f p. 318) shows that the route taken by Ignatius was 

^ Ii^natius is introducing the great theme found in all his epistles, 
the importance of unity. Christ is at one with the Father ; the 
bishops, however distant from each other, are at one with Jesus 
Christ. In the phrase * furthest quarters,' 'Ignatius would be 
contemplating regions as distant as Gaul on the one hand and 
Mesopotamia on the other' (Lightfoot). 

* Jesus Christ is tlie theme of their song For the mctnphor, 
cf. Piiilad I, and Rom. 2. 


gratulate you, who are knit to him as closely as is the 
Church to Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ to the Father, 
that all things may accord in unity. Let no man be 
deceived. If any one be not within the enclosure of 
the altar,^ he lacks the bread of God.^ For if the 
prayer of one or two hath so great efficacy, ^ how much 
more has the prayer of the bishop and of the whole 
Church. So then he who comes not to the congregation 
thereby shows his pride and straightway cuts himself 
off. For it is written, * God resisteth the proud. ^ * So 
then let us take heed not to resist the bishop, that we 
may be living in submission to God.^ 

VI. And so far as a man sees a bishop keeping 
silence,® let him hold him all the more in reverencr*. 
For every one, whom the Master of the household sends 
to administer His own household, we ought to receive 
even as the Sender's very self. The bishop then we 
ought plainly to regard as the Lord Himself. Now 
Onesimus of his own accord praises highly your orderly 
manner of life in God, how that you all live in accord- 
ance with truth and that in your midst no heresy has 
its dwelling. Nay, you do not even listen to any one 
if he speak of aught beyond ^ Jesus Christ in truth. 

VII. For some are wont, out of malicious cunning, 

* On the word translated * enclosure of the altar,' see Trail. 7, 
Philad. 4, with notes. The 'enclosure of the altar' is the court 
of the congregation in the old Tahernacle or Temple. This was 
separated from the outer court. Here ii denotes the assembly <tf 
the faithful in each individual church. 

* Lightfoot brackets the words * of God.' 
^ C». Matt, xviii. 18 — 20. 

* Prov. iii. 34. 

^ The translation follows Zahn's reading. Lightfoot's text yiel Is 
the sense, * we may be God's by our subjection.' 

•* Ignatius is here indirectly pleading for their biihop Onesimus, 
whose quiet and modest demeanour might lead some to despise 
him. Cf. c. 15, and the similar directions in Thilad. i, Magn. 3. 

' Lightfoot's reading has been followed. 


to bear about with them the Name, while they practise 
certain other deeds unworthy of God. These you must 
needs avoid as wild beasts.^ For they are mad dogs, 
biting stealthily, against whom you must be on your 
guard, for their bite is hard to heal. There is one 
Physician, of flesh and of spirit, ^ originate and un- 
originate,^ God in man, true Life in death, son of 
Mary* and Son of God, first passible and then 
impassible, Jesus Christ our Lord. 

VI I L Let no man then deceive you, as indeed you 
are not deceived, for you are wholly given .to God. For 
when no evil desire is implanted in you, which can 
torment you, then are you living after a godly manner. 
I devote myself to abasement for your sakes,^ I sur- 

^ Cf. Smyrn. 4, Philad. 2. 

* On the antithesis of * flesh ' and * spirit ' in these epistles, see 
Introd. §4. The word 'spirit' expresses here the Divine nature 
of Christ. We may compare 2 Clem. c. 9, * Christ the Lord ... 
being first spirit, then became flesh.' The human element is 
expressed by the word * flesh.' For this balanced antithesis, cf. 

Polyc. 3. ;^ /». :, , 

' The terms employed by Ignatius are yevvi\r6s and hyivv7\ros, . . . ^ 

Ignatius is using the words to express little more than 'created ''l' \ 

and uncreate.' Such language, however, points to an early period .7 . ■'■ ' 
of doctrinal statement, and could not have been used in later days 
without incurring the charge of heresy, as it would have seemed 
to deny the Divine generation of the Son. 'The conception of a 
Divine Sonship was realized by the Church before the conception 
of a Divine generation ' (Swete, Apostles^ Creed, p. 28). Hence 
the use of such language by Ignatius at a time when there was no 
exact definition of theological terms involves nothing inconsis'ent 
with the Nicene Creed, and afibrds no proof that he denied the 
pre-existence of Christ. This latter finds expression in Magn. 6 
and Polyc. 3. See further Lightfoot's Excursus, vol. ii. pp. 90, foil. 

* The whole of this passage is aimed at the Docetic error, which 
denied the reality of the Incarnation. 

^ Literally, ' I am your oflfscouring.' The same word, v€pi}\friij.a, 
is used by St. Paul in l Cor. iv. 13. It is a word used of con- 
demned criminals of the lowest classes, who were saciifice<l as 
expiatory offerings in limes of plague or other visitations, to avert 
the wrath of the Gods. It thus includes the two ideas of * self- 
devotion ' and 'abasement.' 


render myself as an offering for the Church of you 
Ephesians, which is renowned unto the ages. They that 
are of the flesh cannot do the works of the Spirit,^ 
neither can they that are spiritual do the works of the 
flesh, even as faith cannot do the works of unbelief, nor 
unbelief the works of faith. But even the things which 
you do after the flesh are spiritual.^ For you do all 
things in Jesus Christ. 

IX. I have learned that certain persons from yonder ^ 
have passed through your city, bringing with them false 
teaching These you did not suffer to sow seeds among 
you, for you closed your ears that they might not receive 
the seeds sown by them, since you were stones * of the 
temple, prepared beforehand ^ for a building of God the 
Father, being raised to the heights by the engine of 
Jesus Christ, which is the Cross, using as your rope the 
Holy Spirit. Your faith is the windlass,^ and love is the 
way which leads up to God. So then you ae all com- 
panions in festal procession along the way,' bearing your 

^ Suggested by i Cor. ii. 14 sq. 

* See Introd. § 4. 

* It is uncertain what place is alluded to. Lighifoot conjectures 

* The change of metaphor is sudden, after the manner of Ignatius, 
and is followed by another change. They are in succession the 
soil in which seed is sown, stones of a building, and members of a 
festal procession. 

** Lightfoot's emendation has been adopted. 

® The wh' le of this passage is a somewhat extravagant expansion 
in great detail of the metaphor used by St. Paul in Eph. it. 20 sq. 
In the building of the Church, the faithful are the stones, the Cross 
is the crane, the Holy Spirit is the rope by which the stones are 
raised, faith is the windlass which sets the machine in motion > and 
love is the inclined plane along which the stones are drawn. 

' Another change of metaphor. The figure is now a heathen 
procession, in which the pilgrims, arrayed in f stal attire, carry- 
small shrines, images, and other sacred emblems. Such processions 
would be common in Syria, Asia, and elsewhere. For a gift of such . 
images to the tcpipleof Artemis at Ephesus, see Lightfoot, Ignatius^ 
II. 17. 


God and shrine/ bearing Christ and your holy treasures, 
fully arrayed in the commandments of Jesus Christ. 
And in your rejoicings I too have part, and am suffered 
to associate with you by letter, and to rejoice with you 
that you love nothing pertaining to man's outward life,^ 
but God only. 

X. And for the rest of men pray unceasingly^ — for 
there is in them hope of repentance — ^that they may 
attain unto Ciod. Suffer them therefore to learn dis- 
cipleship at least from your works. In face of their 
outbursts of wrath be meek ; in face of their boastful 
words be humble ; meet tl^^ir revilings with prayers ; 
where they are in error, be steadfast in the faith*; 
in face of their fury be gentle. Be not eager to retaliate 
upon them. Let our forbearance i)rove us their brethren. 
Let us endeavour to be imitators of the Lord, striving who 
can suffer the greater wrong,^ who can be defrauded, 
who be set at naught, that no rank weed of the Devil be 
found in you. But in all purity and sobriety abide in 
Christ Jesus in flesh and in spirit. 

XL These are the last times.® Henceforth let us feel 
shame, let us stand in awe of the long-suffering of God, 
lest it turn to our judgment. For either let us fear the 
wrath to come, or let us love the grace which is present 
— either this or tliat ; only be it ours to be found in 
Christ Jesus unto life which is life indeed. Apart from 
Him, let nothing dazzle you. For in Him I wear my 
bonds, my spiritual pearls, in which I pray that I may 
rise again by the help of your prayer — may it ever be 
mine to have a share in that — that I may be found among 

^ For these shrines cf. Acts xix. 24. They were small nfiodels 
offered to the god or goddess, or kept at home as amulets, and 
sometimes j)hiced in graves by the side of ihe dead. 

* Light foot's emendation has been adopted. 

^ CT. I Thess. v. 17. ^ See Col. i. 23. 

* A reminiscence of i Cor. vi. 7. ** Cf. I John ii. 18. 


the band of those Ephesian Christians, who were, besides, 
continually of one accord ^ with the Apostles -^ in the 
power of Jesus Christ. 

XII. I know who I am and to whom I write. I am 
a condemned man, you have obtained mercy. I am 
subject to peril, you are established secure. You are 
the highway of those who are being conducted by death 
unto God * You are initiated into the mysteries along 
with Paul,* who was sanctified and well approved, who 
is worthy of congratulation ; in whose footsteps may I 

^ Or wiih Zahii's reading, 'consorted wiih.' 

2 In addition to St. l*aul, who»had resided and taught at Ephesus, 
there may be a reference to St. John, whom a tradition, dating from 
the last quarter of the second century, represents as residing m his 
later years at Ephesus. See Irena-'us, adv. Hicr. III. i. i ; 
Polycrates, quote(l by Kusebius, H. E. v. 24 ; Clement of Alexan- 
dria, Quis dives salvetur^ c. 42 ; cf. Tertullian, adv. Marc. iv. 5. 
On the evidence of a statement attributed to Papias in some 
recently recovered fragments of Philip of Side (fifth century) to the 
effect thai the Apostle John was slain by the Jews, this residence at 
Ephesus has been called in question l)y some recent scholars, and it 
is certainly surprising that Ignatius in his letter to the Ephesians 
nowhere expressly refers to St. John. See for a discussion of the 
whole question Stanton, Gospels as Historical Documettts, I. 162 f., 
213 f. St. Peter's first epistle is addressed to Asiatic Christians, and 
St. Andrew and St. Philip are represented in early tradition as 
having lived in these regions. 

• Ephesus was ' a highway of martyis. ' Criminals were frequently 
reserved for the shows and hunting scenes in the amphitheatre, and 
the provinces were resorted to for the supply of victims. The 
Christians would be treated as common criminals, unless they were 
Roman citizens. Such bands of prisoners from the East would 
pass along the great route which readied the sea at Ephesus, and 
would thence be shipped to Ostia, the port of Rome. 

* A metaphor derived from the ancient mysteries and suggested 
by the language of St. Paul, who constantly uses the' word of the 
Gospel, and in Phil. iv. 12, speaks of himself as 'initiated' (A.V. 
* I am instructed '). Ignatius is speaking of their intercourse with 
mariyrs. Among these was St. Paul, who had resided and taught 
at Ei)hesus. The notices in the Pastoral Epistles (i Tim. i. 3, 
2 Tim. i. 18, iv. 13, 20) represent the Apostle as traversing these 
same regions and, like Ignatius, journeying to Troas on his way 
to Rome for his final trial and martyrdom. On the silence of 
Ignatius as to St. John's residence at Ephesus, see note on c. 11. 


be found closely following, when I attain unto God ; 
who makes mention of you in every letter ^ in Christ 

Xni. Be diligent therefore to come together more 
often to render thanks ^ to God and to give glory. . For 
when you frequently assemble together, the forces of 
Satan are overthrown and the destruction which he is 
planning is undone by the harmony of your faith. 
Nothing is better than peace, by which all warfare of 
heavenly and earthly foes is brought to naught. 

XIV. None of these things escapes your notice, if 
you hold fast perfectly your faith and love in Jesus 
Christ, for these are the beginning and the end of life. 
The beginning is faith, the end is love. And the two 
blending in unity are God, and all else follows on these, 
ending in perfect goodness. No man who professes 
faith lives in sin, nor if he possesses love, does he live 
in hatred. The tree is manifest by its fruil.^ In like 
manner they who profess to be Christ's, shall be appaient 
by their deeds. For at this time the Work* is no mere 
matter of profession, but is seen only when a man is 
found living in the power of faith unto the end. 

XV. It 'is better to keep silence and to be than to 
talk and not to be.^ It is good to teach, if the speaker 
act. Now there was One Teacher, Who spake and it 

^ The wortls 'in every letter' are difilcull. Pearson tianslates 
'throughout his letter,' and refers it to the Epistle to the Ephesians. 
There are, however, references to the Ephesian Christians and to 
Ephesus in several of St. Paul's epistles, e,g. Roni. xvi. 5 ; i Cor. 
XV. 32, xvi. 8, 19 ; 2 Cor. i. 8 sq. ; i Tim. i. 3 ; 2 Tim. i. 18, iv. 12. 

'■^ Lit. *come together for thanksgiving.' The word 6uxo/)i<rWa 
is •here probably used generally, but indirectly refers to the 

' See Matt. xii. 33 ; cf. Luke vi. 44. 

* Kor 'the Work 'in the sense of 'the preaching and practice 
of Christianity,' see Rom. 3, and cf. Acts xv. 38, Pliil. ii. 30. Cf. 
also John. iv. 34, vi. 29, xvii. 4. 

° Probably he is thinking of the quiet demeanour of their bishop. 


came to pass.^ And the deeds which He has done in 
silence are worthy of the Father. He who is truly 
master of the spoken word of Jesus is able also to listen 
to His silence,^ that he may be perfect, and so may 
act by his speech, and be understood by his silence. 
Nothing is hidden fiom the Lord, but even our secrets 
are brought nigh unto Him. Let us therefore do all 
things in the assurance that He dwells within us, that 
we may be His shrines ^ and He Himself may dwell in 
us as God. For this is indeed true and will be made 
manifest before our eyes by the services of love which 
as our bounden duty we render unto Him. 

XVL Be not deceived, my brethren. They that 
corrupt houses "* shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 
If then they who did such deeds after the flesh were 
put to death, how much more if a man by his evil 
teaching corrupt God's faith for which Jesus Christ was 
crucified. Such a man, becoming defiled, shall go 
into unciuenchable fire, and in like manner he that 
heareth him. 

XVn. For this cause ^ the Lord received the oint- 
ment * upon His head, that He might breathe the odour 

'^ MIe applies to Christ's work the words which the I^ahiiist used 
(Ps. xxxii. [xxxiii.] 9) of God's action in Creation. 

^ Instances of this silence are the thirty years' retirement before 
His public ministry, His withdrawal from popular demonstrations, 
His retirement for prayer, and His silence at his trial. 

^ Cf. I Cor. iii. 16, 17, vi. 19, 2 Cor. vi, 16, Rev. xxi. 3, and 
see I'hilad. 7. 

•* Suggested by the passages quoted in the preceding note. Tlie 
* corrupters of houses ' refer to those wiio pollute their hearts and 
lx)dies by evil. 

* The words refer to what follows, * that He might breathe,' etc. 

• This refers to the anointing at Bethany. See Mark xiv. 3 scj., 
Matt. xxvi. 6 sq., John xii. 2 sq. Zahn and Lightfoot find the 
parallelism to 'breathe upon the church* in the words recorded 
by St. John only, * the house was fdled with the odour of the 
ointment.' They infer accordingly from the passage a knowledge 
by Ignatius of St. John's narrative. But it is more probable that 


of incorruption upon the Church. Be not anointed 
with the foul odour of the teaching of the Prince of 
this world, ^ lest he lead you captive and exclude you 
from the life set before you. And why do we not all 
become prudent by receiving the knowledge of God, 
which is Jesus Christ? Why do we foolishly perish 
in ignorance of the gift which the Lord has truly 
sent ? 

XVHL My spirit abases itself for the sake of the 
Cross, ^ which is an offence * to the unbelievers, but to 
us it is salvation and life eternal. Where is the wise 
man ? Where is he that disputeth ? Where is the 
boasting of the so-called men of understanding? For 
our God, Jesus Christ, was conceived by Mary accord- 
ing to a Divine purpose,* of the seed of David, and yet 
of the Holy Spirit ; Who was born and baptized, that 
by His Passion He might purify water.^ 

the relation here conceived of between Christ and the Church is 
that of the Head to the Body. The Body partakes of the fragrant 
ointment which has been poured *upon the Head.' This inter- 
pretation, which is suggested by Von der Go\X.z (Texte u, Unters. 
xii. 3), accords with the interpretation of the incident given by 
Origen, c. Cels. vi. 79. 

^ 'The prince of this world* recalls the similar phrase in St» 
John (xii. 31, xiv. 30, xvi. ii). The words for 'world,* however, 
are difTerent. In Ignatius aie6v is found, in the Gospel K6ayM% is 
used. The phraFe occurs again Eph. 19, Magn. i, Trail. 4, 
Rom. 7, Philad. 6. 

• Lit. ' my spirit is the offscouring of the Cross.' See note 
on c. 8. 

^ Suggested by i Cor. i. 23, 24. The following clause is a 
reminiscence of the same chapter. 

* Or ' dispensation ' (oiicovo/A^oi/), a word specially used of the 
Incarnation. Cf. Eph. i. 10. 

^ The thought of Ignatius appears to be that by His own baptism 
our Lord set apart and appropriated water to the use of His Church 
in the future for the Sacrament of Baptism. The virtue of baptism, 
however, was derived from the cleansing power of the Cross com- 
municated in the Sacrament. Hence the reference to the Passion. 
Similarly the water of Baptism is connected with the Cross in 
Barnabas 11. 


XIX. And from the prince of this world were hidden ^ 
Mary*s virginity and her child-bearing, in like manfter 
too 2 the death of the Lord.' Three mysteries are these 
for open proclamation, wrought in God's silence. How 
then were they manifested to the ages ? A star * shone 
forth in Heaven more brightly than all the stars, and 
its light was greater than words can tell, and its strange 
appearing caused perplexity. And all the other stars,^ 
with the sun and moon, formed themselves into a band 
about the star. But the star itself surpassed them all 
in its brightness. And there was distress to know 
whence came this strange sight so unlike the other 
stars. From that time all sorcery and every spell began 

^ The idea that Satan was deceived by the mysterious silence 
and reserve of God in the Incarnation is found in virriters of the 
second, third, and fourth centuries. Thus Gregory of Nyssa 
{Or. Cat. 26) says: 'He who first deceived man by the bait of 
sensual pleasure, is himself deceived by the presentment of the 
human form.* 

* One of the two MSS. of the Curetonian Syrinc Version omits 
all mention of the death, and dissociates * the three mysteries ' 
from what precedes. The words then run : ' the virginity of M. 
and the birth of our Lord and the three mysteries of a cry.' But 
it is difficult to see what * ihe three mysteries ' can mean, when 
thus dissociated from the preceding words. The absence cf the 
omitted clause in the quotation of this passage by Origen {Horn, in 
Luc. vi.) is explained by the fact that he is quoting the passage 
merely with reference to the Virgin-Birth. 

* By * the death of the Lord ' here Ignatius means the atonement 
brought about through the death. The fact was known to Satan ; 
its significance escaped him. Cf. I Cor. ii. 7 sq. 

* A later expansion, doubtless, of the incident described in 
Matt. ii. I sq., but whether derived from oral tradition or a 
written source we cannot tell. The only other passage where 
Ignatius shows knowledge of a tradition other than that preserved 
in our Gospels is in Smyrn. 3. In Clement of Alexandria, Exc. 
7'heod. 74, the incident of the star is expanded in language which 
may show acquaintance with this passage of Ignatius. 

* The idea appears to have been suggested by Joseph's dream. 
For similar legendary additions, see passages quoted by Lightfoot, 
vol. ii. pp. 81, 82. How far this passage is intended as an actual 
description it is difficult to say. 


to lose their power ; ^ the ignorance of wickedness began 
to vanish away ; the overthrow of the ancient dominion 
was being brought to pass,^ since God was appearing 
in human form unto newness of life eternal. That 
which had been perfected in the mind of God was 
coming into being. Hence all things were disturbed, 
because the overthrow of death was being planned. 

XX. If Jesus Christ permit me through your prayer, 
and it be God's will, in my second treatise, which I am 
about to write unto you,^ I will go on to set forth the 
Divine plan, which I began to expound, with reference 
to the new man,* Jesus Christ, consisting in faith in 
Him and love toward Him, in His Passion and Resur- 
rection, especially if the Lord make any ^ revelation to 
me. Meet in common assembly in grace, every one of 
you, man by man, in one faith and in one Jesus Christ, 
Who is according to the flesh of the stock of David, the 
Son of man and Son of God, so that you may obey 
the bishop and the presbytery with a mind free from 
distraction ; breaking one bread,® which is the medicine 
of immortality, the antidote preserving us that we should ^ ^*r>i>o^. 
not die but live for ever in Jesus Christ. 

^ Magic and witchcraft were widely prevalent in the Empire 
throughout the first four centuries. Cf. Acts xix. 19 for an account 
of its prevalence at Ephesus. The emperor Hadrian, in a letter 
written to Servianus about 134 a.d., says with reference to the 
city of Alexandria: * There is no ruler of a synagogue there, no 
Samaritan, no Christian presbyter, who is not an astrologer, a 
soothsayer, a quack.' The idea that the power of witchcraft was 
broken by the coming of Christ is commonly found in the Fathers. 

2 Lightfoot's reading has been adopted. 

^ There is nothing to show that this design was ever carried out, 

* For the * new man/ cf. i Cor. xv. 45, 47. Lightfoot suggests 
that Ignatius may have understood Eph. iv. 24 to refer to Christ. 

'^ Zahn's emendation has been adopted. 

• For the phrase, cf. Acts ii. 46, xx. 7, etc., i Cor. x. 16. The 
reference is to the Eucharist, which is the bond of unity between 
Christ and His members. See Smym. 8, Philad. 4. With the 
following words cf. John vi. 53, 54. 

"W^ **^^^-*' 


XXI. I am devoted to you ^ and to those whom you 
sent to Smyrna fo;: the honour of God. It is from 
thence, moreover, that I am writing to you with thanks- 
giving to the Lord, and with love for Polycarp as well 
as for yourselves. Remember me, even as Jesus Christ 
remembers you. Pray for the Church which is in 
Syria, whence I am being led in bonds to Rome, though 
I am the last among the faithful there; according as I 
was deemed worthy to bo found destined for the honour 
of God. Farewell in God the Father and in Jesus 
Christ our common Hope. 

^ Lit. * I am a sacrifice for yon.' The w< rd avri^vxoVi used 
here, occurs again, Smyrn. lo, Polyc. 2, 6. It closely resembles 
the word used in c. 8. But the prominent idea is simply * devotion 
to, and love for, another. ' The word may be illustrated by another 
word of similar formation, iVrf«|/i;xos, * like-minded,' which is found 
not only in Phil. ii. 20, but also in the LXX version of Ps. liv. [Iv.] 
14 (translated in the P.-B. V. * my compani(/n'). Others, however, 
see in the phrase a fuller significance, * I give my life for you,' and 
find in it an allusion to his coming martyrdom. Cf. for the idea 
I John iii. 16. Athanasius [tie Inc. 9) uses the wprd of our Lord's 


[Magnesia by the Mcxander was about fifteen Roman miles 
south-east of Ephesus. The foundation of the Church there 
probably dates from St. Paul's residence at Ephesus (Acts xix. 
lo — 26). The Magnesian Christians, like the Ephesians, on hearing 
of Ignatius' visit to Smyrna, had sent delegates to that city, in- 
cluding representatives of all three orders of the ministry (c. 2). 
Ignatius writes to acknowledge their interest in him. As in other 
epistles, he urges the imporiance of unity and the duty of obedience 
to the ministry, especially warning them against presuming upon 
the youthfulness of their bishop (c. 3). In cc. 8 — 10 he deals \\ith 
a form of Judaistic error, against which he warns them, without, 
however, implying its actual existence at Magnesia (cf. cc. 11, 12, 
14); There are incidental allusions to Doceiism (cc. 9, 11). See 
further Add. Note i.] 

Ignatius, who is also Theophorus, to her that has 
been blessed by the grace of God the Father in Christ 
Jesus our Saviour, in Whom I salute the Church which 
is in Magnesia by the Maeander, and wish her in God 
the Father and in Jesus Christ heartiest greeting. 

I. When I learned that your godly love shows itself 
in a most orderly demeanour,^ I rejoiced and resolved 
to address myself to you in the faith of Jesus Christ. 
For having been granted a title of the highest reverence,^ 
in my bonds which I wear I sing the praises of the 
churches,^ and I pray that in them there may be union 
of flesh and spirit,*, which belong to Jesus Christ, our 

^ i. e. tl eir submission to authority. 

* Probably the title of * a prisoner of Jesus Christ.' Cf. Eph. 
iii. I, iv. I, Philem. I, 9. 

* Cf. Eph. 4, Rom. 2. Here, as there, Ignatius 'compares 
himself to some gay reveller ; his fetters are his holiday deco a- 

tion.' — LlGHTFOOT. 

* Cf. Rom. inscr. and below, c. 13. On Ignatius' conception 
of the unity of the Church, see Introd. § 4. The source of the 
Church's unity, as of its life, is Christ Himself. See below, 
* union with Jesus and the Father.' Cf. Trail. 11. 



continual Life, an union in both faith and love — for 
there is nothing better than that — and, more than all, 
union with Jesus and the Father. In Him we shall 
endure all the malicious attacks of the prince of this 
world, ^ and, escaping from them, shall attain unto God 

n. Since therefore I have been permitted to see 
you in the person of Damas, your godly bishop, and 
the worthy presbyters, Bassus and ApoUonius, and 
my fellow-servant, the deacon Zotion, of whom may I 
have joy, because he is subject unto the bishop as unto 
the grace of God, and to the presbytery as unto the law 
of Jesus Christ — ^ 

II L And for yourselves, it is fitting that you too 
should not treat lightly the youth of your bishop, but 
considering the power of God the Father,^ pay him all 
reverence. For in like manner I have perceived that 
the holy presbyters have not presumed ui)on his 
seemingly youthful state,* but yield place to him as to 
one who is prudent ^ in God, or rather not to him, but 
to the Father of Jesus Christ, even to Him Who is 
Bishop of all men.^ So then for the honour of Him, 

* Sec nolo Kpli. 17. 

^ * 'The bishop is here regaided as the dispenser of blessings; 
I the presbyters as the representatives and guardians of order.' — 
i LmiiTFOOT. The sentence is unfinished. 

' I. e. the authority bestowed on him by God. 

* The words vtunpiK^v rd^iv have been variously translated. 
The rendering given above follows Pearson and Lightfoot. Others, 
seeing in the words an allusion to episcopacy as a newly created 
institution, translate 'not recognizing the seemingly newly-created 
office.' But, apart from the fact that the language of Ignatius lends 
no countenance to the view that he regarded episcopacy as a new 
institution, the words will not admit of this rendering. Zahn 
renders * the ordination of a young man,' but this puts a strain on 
the words. The IransLition above gives good sense. Damas 
outwardly appeared youthful, but showed a wisdom beyond his 

^ The reading of the Armenian Version has been followed. 

* Cf. Kom. 9, Polyc. inscr. See i Pet. ii. 25. 


Who desired you, it is fitting that you should obey 
without dissembling. For it is not that a man deceives 
this visible bishop/ but rather that he tries to cheat 
Him Who is invisible. And in such case it is not with 
flesh that he has to do, but with God Who knows the 
things that are in secret. 

IV. So then it is fitting not only to be called, but 
also to be Christians. Even as there are some who 
have the name * bishop' always on their lips, and yet 
in everything act apart from him. Now such seem to 
me to be not men of a good conscience, seeing that 
they gather not together in a valid way^ according to 

V. So then the things of this life have an end, and 
there are set together before us the two issues of life 
and death, and each man shall surely go to his own 
place.^ For just as there are two coinages, the one of 
God, the other of the world, and each one of them has 
stamped upon it its own image, the unbelievers the 
stamp of this world, and they that in love believe, the 
image of God the Father through Jesus Christ,* through 
Whom unless we are ready of our own accord to die 
unto His Passion,^ His life is not in us — * 

VI. Seeing therefore that in the persons already 

^ A reference to the original meaning of the word, 'overseer.' 
Cf. Rom. 9. 

2 Cf. Smyrn. 8 note. 

* Acts i. 25. Cf. Clement oj Rome^ c. 5, and Pol)C., Phil. 9. 

* Cf. Heb. i. 3, where Christ is Himself the * impress ' of the 
Father's 'essence.* This Divine image is stamped upon the 
believer by his union with Christ. 

* Lit. 'die into His Passion.' The Christian becomes identified 
with Christ in His Passion, and dies with Him. Cf. the language 
of St. Paul on baptism into Christ in Rom. vi. 4, Gal. iii. 27 ; also 
Rom. vi. 5, Gal. ii. 20. 

* The sentence is unfinished. The frequent occurrence of such 
broken sentences is an indication of haste in the composition of 
these letters. 


mentioned I beheld in faith your whole number, and 
have welcomed them, I urge you, be diligent to do all 
things in godly concord, the bishop presiding after the 
pattern ^ of God, and the presbyters after the pattern of 
the council of the Apostles, with the deacons also who 
are most dear to me, seeing they are entrusted with a 
service under ^ Jesus Christ, Who before the ages was 
with the Father, and appeared at the end.^ Therefore 
seeking to conform yourselves to the ways of God,* 
reverence one another, and let no man look upon his 
neighbour after the flesh, but in Jesus Christ love one 
another continually. Let there be nothing among you 
which shall be able to divide you, but be^ united with 
the bishop, and with them that have the rule over you 
for a pattern and lesson of incorruption. 

VIL As therefore the Lord did nothing without the 

^ Reading rvvoy, which has the support of the Syriac and 
Armenian Versions. The Greek text, Latin Version, and the 
Longer Greek text read rSvoVj * in the place of.* 

There are two types of authority to which Ignatius likens the 
authority of the bishop, both being suggested by the memory of 
the Lord's earthly ministry. (i) The bishop represents the 
authority of the Father, to whom Christ, as Son of Man, during 
His earthly life yielded obedience (cf. Tiall. 3, Smyrn. 8, and 
present passnge). (2) The bishop represents the authority of 
Christ over His Apostles (cf. Trail. 2). In Magn. 13 we find 
both comparisons. 

The presbyters are regularly compared to the Apostles. Cf. 
. Trail. 2, 3 ; Smyrn. 8. 

The deacons are also compared to Jesus Christ, but in His 
relation as Son of Man to the Father. See present chapter and 
Trail. 3 (note). 

The word * council ' is suggested by primitive Church custom. 
The bishop sat in the centre, with the presbyters forming a 
'corona' about him (cf. c. 13). Cf. Trail. 3, Philad. 8. In ^f>p. 
Const, ii. 28 the presbyters are called 'the council of the Church.' 

* Or *a service in which Jesus Christ ministered.' (Cf. Matt. 
XX. 28, Mark x. 45. Cf. Trail. 3 ) For the rendering given, cf. 
2 Cor. xi. 23, I Tim. iv. 6. 

3 Cf. Heb. i. 2. 

* Cf. Polyc. I note. 


Father ^ [being united with Him ^J, neither of Himself 
nor by the Apostles, so neither do you act in anything 
apart from the bishop and presbyters. Neither attempt 
to persuade yourselves that anything is right which you 
do of yourselves apart. But in common let there be 
one prayer, one supplication, one mind, one hope, in 
love, in joy that is without blame, which ^ is Jesus Christ 
— for there is naught better than He. Gather yourselves 
together, all of you, as unto one shrine, even God,* as 
unto one altar, even One Jesus Christ, Who proceeded 
from One Father,^ and is in One and returned to One. 

VIII. Be not deceived by strange doctrines nor by 
ancient fables,^ seeing that they are profitless. For if, 
until now, we live after the rule of Judaism,' we confess 

^ Cf. John viii. 28. 

^ Cf. Smyrn. 3. Some authorities omit the words. 

3 The relative refers to the whole clause. ' This perfect unity 
is Jesus Christ.' — Lightfoot. In place of the relative, which 
the Latin Version reads, the Greek text has 'there is one Jesus 

^ The rendering given follows the text of Lightfoot, and adopts 
his reading 0e(Jv, for ©cow of the Greek text and Latin Version ; 
'one shrine, even God,' instead of 'one shrine of God.' With 
this reading God is compared to the shrine, and Jesus Christ to 
the altar-court, through which in the Jewish Temple access was 
gained to the Holy Place and Holy of Holies. The idea is that 
Christ is the means of access to the Father. The whole passage is 
an appeal for unity, which can only come through being in Jesus 
Christ, Who is Himself in the Father. For the word altar, cf. 
Eph. 5, Trail. 7, Philad, 4. See also Heb. xiii. 10. For the 
whole idea of the passage cf Heb. ix. 6 sq. 

^ The reference is to His earthly mission. The language of lliis 
passage recalls John i. 18, xiii. 3, xvi. 28. 

* Cf I Tim. i. 4, iv. 7, 'lit. i. 14, iii. 9. In those passages, as 
also in the present passage, the reference is probably to Rabbinic 
fables and the allegorical interpretations of Jewish history. See 
Hort (ludaisttc Christianity, p. 135 sq.). In the expressions of 
this epistle and of that to the Philadelphians there is nothing which 
necessarily points to a mixture of Gnosticism and Judaism as 
Lightfoot supposes. See further Add. Note i. 

■^ Cf. Gal. i. 13, ii. 14. By 'the rule of Judaism,' Ignatius 
means the observance of Jewish rites. 


to the new leaven,^ which is Jesus Christ. Be salted 
in Him,^ that no one among you wax corrupt, for by 
your savour you shall be proved. It is outrageous to 
ulter the name of Jesus Christ and live in Judaism. 
For Christianity believed not in Judaism, but Judaism 
in Christianity, in which people of every tongue believed 
and were gathered unto God. 

XI. I write not this, my beloved, because I have 
learned that some of you are in such evil case, but as 
one who is less than you, I desire to put you on your 
guard that you fall not into the snares of vain teaching, 
but be fully convinced of^ the birth and passion and 
resurrection, which came to pass in the time of the 
government of Pontius Pilate * — events which truly and 
certainly were brought to pass by Jesus Christ, our 
Hope, from which Hope may none of you ever go 

XII. May I have joy of you in all things, if I be 
worthy. For even though I am a prisoner, I am 
nothing in comparison with one of you who are free. 
I know that you are not puffed up, for you have Jesus 
Christ within yourselves.^ And I know that when I 
praise you, you feel the greater shame, for it is written, 
* The righteous man is his mun accuser^ ^ 

XIII. Be diligent therefore to be confirmed in the 

^ Matt. xiii. t^^^ Luke xiii. 21. 

* Matt. V. 13, Mark ix. 50, Luke xiv. 34. Cf. Lev. ii. 13. 

* 'Ihis confession, couclied in an anti-Docetic form, may indicate 
that Ignatius feared the danger of Docetism at Magnesia. Or 
possibly he is thinking of the dangers threatening other churches, 
and so gives an anticipatory warning to the Magnesians. 

* The date of the Crucifixion is insetted here, as in the Creed, 
in order to emphasize the historical truth of the fact, and connect 
it with the general hist(;ry of the period. Tacitus, in his account 
of the Christians, mentions Pilate {Ann, xv. 44). 

* Cf. 2 Cor. xiii. 5. 

® Prov. xviii. 17. LXX. The Hebrew gives quite a different 


decrees 1 of the Lord and the Apostles, that in every- 
thing which you do, you may be prospered^ in flesh 
and spirit, by faith and love, in the Son and Father and 
in the Spirit,^ in the beginning and in the end, along 
with your bishop who is worthy of all honour, and the 
fitly- woven spiritual coronal* of your presbytery, and 
the deacons who are according to the mind of God. 
Submit yourselves to the bishop and to one another, as 
Jesus Christ [was subject] to the Father [after the flesh], 
and the Apostles to Christ and the Father, that there 
may be union both of flesh and spirit.^ 

XIV. Knowing that you are full of God, I have 
exhorted you briefly. . Remember me in your prayers, ^^^ 
that I may attain unto God. Remember too the Church ^' ..^s <^ 
which is in Syria, whereof I am not worthy to be called 

a member. For I have need of your united prayer in 
God, and your love, that the Church in Syria may be 
granted the refreshing dew of your fervent supplication. 

XV. The Ephesians from Smyrna salute you, whence 
also I am writing to you, for they have come hither for 
God*s glory, even as yourselves. In every way they 
have refreshed me, with Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna. 
The rest of the churches, too, salute you in the honour 
which is of Jesus Christ. Farewell in godly peace, 
keeping a steadfast spirit, which ^ is Jesus Christ. 

* The word for 'decrees' occurs in Acts xvi. 4. 

* An allusion to Ps. i. 3. LXX. 

' For the order, cf. 2 Cor. xiii. 13. 

* See note on c. 6. 

^ Cf. c. I (note), and see Introd. § 4. 

^ The relative probal)ly refers to the whole clause and ihe idea 
of concord prominent in it. 


[Tralles was situated on the high-road which passes from 
Ephesus through Magnesia and Laodicea to the East. It was 
about seventeen or eighteen miles from Magnesia, which is ahnost 
midway between Ephesus and Tralles. Like Magnesia, Tralles 
probably owed its Christianity to the preaching of St. Paul's disciples. 
The Trail ians had sent their bishop to meet Ignatius at Smyrna, 
and he writes to thank them. He takes occasion to warn them 
against false teaching and separatism, without, however, accusing 
them personally of these errors. The main part of the epistle 
(cc. 6 — ii) contains a strong protest against a Docctic error, of which 
we see a more strongly- developed form in the heresy attacked in the 
Epistle to the Smyrnaians. At the same time he urges upon them 
the duty of outward unity and obedience to their Church officers, 
as their best security against error. Of special interest in this 
connection are cc. 3, 7. There is no mention of the Judaic error 
condemned in the Epistle to the Magnesians.] 

Ignatius, who is also Theophorus, to her that is 
beloved by God, the Father of Jesus Christ, to the holy 
Church which is at Tralles in Asia,^ elect and worthy 
of God, having peace in flesh and spirit ^ through the 
passion of Jesus Christ, Who is our hope through the 
resurrection unto Him ; which Church I salute in the 
fulness of God, after the Apostolic mahner,^ and bid 
her heartiest greeting. 

I. I have learned that you exhibit a mind which is 
blameless and unwavering in patient endurance, not 
from habit but naturally. For so your bishop, Polybius, 

* i. e. the Roman province of Asia. 

* The text is in some confusion, the Greek text and Armenian 
Versions reading * blood ' for ' spirit.' Probably, however, the 
longer Greek recension has preserved the correct reading, 'spirit.' 
The Armenian version omits * through the passion.' This would 
give the sense ' being at peace through faith in, and union with, 
the flesh and spirit of Jesus Christ.' 

' i. e, in the Apostolic epistles. 



has informed me, who by the will of God and Jesus 
Christ has been with me at Smyrna, and has so greatly 
shared my joy in my bonds in Christ Jesus, that in 
him I beheld your whole number. So then I welcomed 
your godly kindness manifested through him, and gave 
glory to God, when I found you to be, as I had learned, 
followers of God. 

II. For whenever you are subject to the bishop as 
unto Jesus Christ, you appear to me to be living not 
the ordinary life of men, but after the manner of the 
life of Jesus Christ,^ Who died for our sakes, that 
believing in His death you might escape death. It is 
necessary therefore that you should act, as indeed you 
do, in nothing without the bishop. But be subject also 
to the presbytery,^ as unto the Apostles of Jesus Christ 
our Hope. For if we live in Him we shall be found 
[in Him].' Those, too, who are deacons of the mys- 
teries* of Jesus Christ must in every way be pleasing 
unto all. For they are not deacons of meats and 
drinks,^ but are servants of the Church of God. So 
then they must be on their guard against blame* as 
against fire. 

III. In like manner' let all reverence the deacons as 

* Cf. Magn. 7. * On this comparison see note on Magn. 6. 

* Lightfoot's reading lias been followed. 

* This probably refers to their work as teachers, rather than to 
their assistance at the Eucharist. St. Paul similarly uses * mystery * 
in the sense of a revealed truth. (Cf. e.g. Rom. xvi. 25.) The 
passage which follows treats of the duties of the deacon's offipe, 
not of the respect which is due to him. 

* The original duties of the deacon's office (Acts vi. 2) involved 
a considerable amount of attention to mere external business, such 
as the distribution of alms. Yet there was a higher aspect of th€ 
office, as from the first we find the deacons engaged in teaching 
(cf. Acts viii.). It is this higher aspect which Ignatius emphasizes. 

* Cf. I Tim. iii. 10. 

' i. e. there must be mutual consideration. The deacon must 
regard the people's wishes ; the people must respect the deacon's 


Jesus Christ,^ as also the bishop, [regarding him] as a 
type of the Father,^ and the presbyters as the Council of 
God and the band of the Apostles.^ Without these there 
is no church deserving of the name.* Concerning these 
matters I am persuaded that you are thus disposed. 
For I have received, and still have with me, in the 
person of your bishop, the pattern of your love. His 
very demeanour is a striking lesson, and his gentleness is 
power — a man whom I think even those who are with- 
out God revere. It is for love of you that I thus refrain, 
although I might have spoken of this with greater 
urgency. But I thought not myself sufficient for this 
task of enjoining you, condemned man that I am, as 
though I were an apostle. 

IV. I have many thoughts in God. But I keep 
myself within bounds, that my boasting may not prove 
my ruin. For now must I needs fear the more, and not 
give heed unto them that are puffing me up. For they 
who speak to me^ act as a scourge to me. For I 
welcome suffering, yet I know not whether I am worthy. 

* On this comparison cf. Miign. 6, note. Ignatius is thinking of 
the relation to the Father of Jesus Christ as Son of Man, * Who 
came not to be ministered unto, but to minister' (Matt. xx. 28). 

* Cf. Magn. 6, note. The whole passage from 'deacons' to 

* Father ' exhibits great variation of text. In the first clause the 
Latin Version reads * as the commandment of Jesus Christ.' In 
place of the word * type,' which is read by the Syriac version and 
the longer Greek recension, the Greek text and Latin version read 

' For the ideas which suggested this twofold comparison of the 
presbyters, see Magn. 6, note. The word * council ' is suggested 
by the arrangements of the churches in early times, while the word 

* band ' is suggested by the earthly ministry of the Lord and His 

* On the Ignatian conception of the ministry and the unity of 
the Church, see Introd. § 4. 

* Ignatius suppresses the flattering words which he fears may 

* puflf him up.' It is possible, however, that some words may have 
fallen out. 


For the envy of Satan is not visible to the eyes of many,^ 
but it makes war on me [the more]. I desire therefore 
gentleness, by which the prince of this world ^ is over- 

V. Am I not able to write unto you heavehly things ? 
But I fear lest I may inflict harm upon you, since you 
are babes.^ Indeed bear with me, lest being unable to 
contain them, you be choked. For even though I am 
in bonds and am able to understand * heavenly things 
and the ordering of angels and the musterings of heavenly 
rulers, things visible and invisible, yet am I not thereby 
already a disciple. For we suffer lack of many things, 
that we may not come short of God. 

VI. I urge you therefore, yet not I, but the love of 
Jesus Christ, use only Christian food, and abstain from 
strange herbage,^ which is heresy. For they even 
mingle poison ^ with Jesus Christ, imposing on men by 
their false professions of honesty, giving as it were a 
deadly drug along with honied wine, and he that is 
ignorant of this fearlessly drinks in death with fatal 

VII. Be on your guard then against such persons. 
And this will be, if you are not puffed up, and if you 
are inseparable from [God, even] Jesus Christ and the 
bishop and the commandments ot the Apostles. "^ He 

* i. e. those who were seeking to procure a respite. (Cf. 
Rom. 7-) 

* Cf. Kph. 17, note. * i Cor. iii. i, 2. 

■* The interest in angelology was a characteristic of the Jews in 
the apostolic and post-nposlolic ages. From them it spread lo 
Judaizing Christians nnd to Christians generally. Cf. Eph. i, 20, 2r, 
Col. i. 16, ii. 18. Cf. Smyrn. 6. 

^ Cf. Kph. 10, Philad. 3. 

* Tiie text is corrupt. The longer Greek recension suj-gesls 
the emended reading which has been here translated. The 
metaphor is that of a physician who infuses poison into his drug-, 
and disguises them by giving to them a sweet flavour. 

' In these last words Lightfoot sees a reference to the institution 


that is within the precincts of the altar ^ is pure, he 
that is without the precincts of the altar is not pure. 
That is, he who acts in anything apart from the bishop 
and the presbytery and the deacons is not pure in 

VIII. I write not this, because I have learned that 
any such evil has happened among you, but I keep 
guard over you beforehand, since you are my beloved, 
and I foresee the snares of the devil. Take up then the 
armour of gentleness and renew yourselves in faith,^ 
which is the flesh of the Lord, and in love, which is the 
blood of Jesus Christ. Let no one among you have 
aught against his neighbour. Give not occasion to the 
heathen, that the godly multitude be not evil spoken of 
on account of a few foolish men. For, * Woe ^ unto him 
through whom My Name is idly blasphemed before some.^ 

IX. Stop your ears then when any one speaks unto 
you apart from Jesus Christ, Who is of the race of 

of the episcopate. An early tradition found in Clement of Alexan- 
dria {Quis dives salvetur^ c. 42) and Teitullian {adv. Marc. iv. 5) 
atiribuies the establishment of episcopacy in Asia Minor to St. John. 
Irenncus (iii. 3, 4) says of Polycarp that he was appointed by apostles 
as bishop of the Church in Smyrna, certainly meaning to include St. 
John in the word * apostles.' See Lightfoot, Philipfians^ p. 212. 

1 See ))ote Eph. 5. The figure is derived from the Jewish 
tabernacle or temple. The man who cuts himself ofT from the 
congregation of the faithful and the common sacrifices becomes as 
a Gentile and outcast (Cf. Matt, xviii. 17). The congregation is 
lieie represented as gatliered together under its proper officers. 

* Faith is said to be the flesh of Christ, because it identifies itselt 
with the incarnate Christ, and rests upon the facts of His outward 
manifestation (cf. Philad. 5). Love is said to be the blood of 
Christ, because Christ's death and sacrifice are the crowning 
expression of love, and the life which results from them is a life of 
love. Cf. Rom. 7« The words * flesh ' and * blood ' are doubtless 
suggested by the Eucharist both here and in Philad. 5. There 
is a someuhat similar mystical application of the words * flesh 
and blood ' in Clement of Alexandria, Paed. i. 6. 

' A free quotation of Isaiah Hi. 5. The words are quoted in the 
same form in Polyc. , Phil. 10. 


David, the child of Mary, Who was truly ^ born, and 
ate and drank, was truly persecuted under Pontius Pilate, 
was truly crucified and died, before the eyes of those in 
heaven and those on eai-th and those under the earth ; ^ 
Who also was truly raised from the dead, since His 
Father raised Him up. Who in like manner will also 
raise up us who believe on Him — even His Father wilJ 
raise us in Christ Jesus, apart from Whom we have not 
that life which is life indeed. 

X. But if it be, as some godless men, that is, 
un'>elievers, assert, that He suffered in semblance — it is 
they who are semblance ^ — why am I in bonds ? Why 
moreover do I pray that I may fight with the wild 
beasts?* Then I die for naught. Then I lie against 
the Lord. 

XL Flee therefore those evil offshoots which bear 
deadly fruit, whereof if a man taste, he straightway dies. 
For these are not a planting of the Father.^ For if they 
were, they would have been seen to be branches of the 
Cross,^ and their fruit would have been incorruptible. 

^ Docetism denied the reality of Christ's human life and 
sufferings. To these heretics it seemed impossible to believe that 
God could have come into such close contact with matter as was 
involved in the Incarnation. Hence the outward, earthly manifes- 
tation of Christ was explained away as an apparition. This 
explains Ignatius' insistence on the reality of the birth, passion and 
resurrection of the Lord. The word * truly ' is a watchword in this 
connection: (See Add. Note I.) 

2 Cf. Phil. ii. 10. 

3 Cf. Smyrn. 2, 4. 

■* Cf. I Cor. XV. 32. The whole passage is modelled on St. 
Paul's words. 

* Cf Matt. XV. 13. 

• For the metaphor, cf. Smyrn. i. * The symbolism of the tree 
of life planted in Paradise, as referring to the Cross of Cijrist, dates 
from a very early time.' — Lightfoot. The language of Rev. xxii. 
I, 2, would render the application easy. The fine hymn, attributed 
to Venantius Fortunatus, * Pange lingua gloriosi,' exhibits the same 
imagery, and contains an allusion to the tradition that the tree from 


For through His Cross by His Passion He calls us unto 
Him, being His members. Jt is not possible then that 
a head should be born without members/ since God 
promises union, which union is Himself. 

Xn. I salute you from Smyrna, together with the 
Churches of God now present ^ with me, men who have 
refreshed me in every way both in flesh and spirit. My 
bonds exhort you, which I wear for Jesus Christ's sake, 
asking that I may attain unto God. Abide in your 
concord and in your prayer with one another. For it 
is meet that you should severally, and especially the 
presbyters, refresh the bishop to the honour of the Father 
and [to the honour] of Jesus Christ and the Apostles. 
I pray that you may give heed to me in love, lest by 
having written unto you I become a testimony against 
you. Moreover, pray for me too, for I have need of 
your love in the mercy of God, that I may be deemed 
worthy of the lot which I eagerly press on ^ to attain, 
that I be not found reprobate. 

Xni. The love of the Smyrnseans and the Ephesians 
salutes you. Remember in your prayers the Church in 

which the Cross was taken sprang from the seed of the Tree of 

De parentis protoplast! 

Frautle facta condolens, 

Quando ponii noxialis 

Morsu in mortem corruit, 

Ipse lignum tunc notavit 

Damna ligni ut solveret. 

^ The denial of the Passion by these heretics cut them off from 
Christ and from the Divine ideal of unity appointed by God through 
the Cross. Ignatius is full of the thought and language of St. Taui, 
and especially of the Epistle to the Ephesians. (Cf. also John xvii. 

2 i. c. present in the persons of their representatives. (Cf. 
Eph. I, Magn. 2.) 

•The rendering given follows the text of Lightfoot, who adopts 
Hunsen's emendation, reading ^yKcifiai for irfpiKei/jiai. With the 
latter reading the meaning is, * to obtain the lot with which I am 


. Syria, whereof I am not worthy to be called a member, 
^ since I am the very last of them. Farewell in Jesus 

Christ, submitting to the bishop as unto the command- 
ment,^ likewise also to the presbytery, and severally love 
one another with an undivided heart. My spirit devotes 
itself for you,^ not only now but also whenever I attain 
unto God. For I am still in danger.^ But the Father 
is faithful in Jesus Christ to fulfil my petition and yours. 
In Him may we be found blameless. 

^ Used absolutely for God*s commandment. They are to obey 
the bishop as they are to obey God. 

« Cf. Epl). 8, note. 

' He still fears that his own weakness, or the efforts of others to 
procure his respite, may rob h'm of the martyr's crown. 


{.This epistle was one of the four letters written from Smyrna. 
It bears the date August 24lh. While the other letters were called 
forth by the dangers and heresies which threatened the life of the 
Churches addressed, this deals with a personal matter, his own 
impending martyrdom. Of heresy we hear nothing. His favourite 
topic, Church order, is hot once mentioned. Certain members of 
the Syrian Church had preceded Ignatius to Rome with news 
of his coming martyrdom. He fears that the influential Church 
in that city may intercede for hian, and, by procuring some com- 
mutation of his sentence, rob him of the crown of martyrdom. 
He earnestly deprecates their interference, and expresses his own 
passionate desire for a martyr's death. ' On account of this strong 
personal interest the letter was more popular, and is quoted earlier, 
than any of the others. It became, in Lightfoot's words, a 'sort 
of martyr's manual,' and influenced largely the language and ideas 
of several of the early stories of martyrdom. The epistle was in- 
corporated in the Antiochene Acts of the mart) rdom and so became 
dissociated from the other letters in its transmission, being preserved 
in a separate set of manuscripts and translated separately. The 
only extant Greek manuscript which coniains the epistle is the 
Colbertine MS. of the tenth century in the National Library at 
Palis, the ejistle being incorporated in the Acts of the martyrdom.] 

Ignatius, who is also Theophorus, to her that has 
found mercy in the bounteous power ^ of the Father 
most High and Jesus Christ, His only Son, to the 
Church that is beloved and illuminated by the will of 
Him that willed all things which exist, in faith and love 
towards Jesus Christ our God ; to her that has the chief 
place in the district of the region of the Romans,^ being 

^ For the word used here cf. Luke ix. 43, A. V., 'the mighty 
power of God.* It denotes an exhibition of God's po\yer which 
rev*;als His goodness and bounty. 

^ These words describe merely the area over which the Roman 
Church exercised supervision. Cf. Tertullian, de Prcoscr. 36 : * Go 
through the Apostolic churches, in which the very seats of the 
Apostles, at this very day, preside over their own places.' Others, 
however, have urged that Ignatius is here maintaining the absolute 



worthy of God, worthy of honour, worthy of congratu- 
lation, worthy of praise, worthy of success, worthy in 
purity, and holding the chief place in love,^ following 
the law of Christ, bearing the Father's name ; which 
Church also I salute in the name of Jesus Christ, Son 
of the Father; to them that are united in flesh and 
spirit with every one of His commandments, being 
wholly filled with the grace of God, without wavering, 
and strained clear from every foreign dye,^ warmest 
greeting in Jesus Christ our God without blame. 

I. My prayer to God has been heard, and I have 
been permitted to see your holy faces, so that I have 
gained even more than 1 was asking.^ For in bonds 
in Christ Jesus I hope to salute you, if it be God's will 
that I should be accounted worthy to reach the end.* 
For the beginning is well ordained if 1 may attain the 

supremacy of the Roman Church among the churches of the world, 
as thou|»h he said, *To her that, being situate in the district of 
the region of the Komans, has the chief place [among churches].* 
I Jut, as Light foot urges in that case it is difficult to see why 
Ignatius did not write merely *in Rome,' whtn describing the 
locality of ihe church. The text of the passage, however, is not 
above suspicion, and it has recently been suggested (Phillimore, 
lotirn. of I'heol. Sludies^ xix. (1918), p. 276) that Xpiarov should 
be read for x^P^^^- ^^e passage then runs ' to her that presides 
over the Romans in the place of Christ.' Cf. Magn. 6, where the 
Greek text and Latin version read r6irov for rvnov, * the bishop 
presiding in the place of God.' Cf. also Eph. 3, Smyrn. 8. 

* As the Church of Rome had the supremacy of rank among the 
clunches in the regitm around it, so loo was it foremost among 
them in works of love. Dionysius of Corinth (c. a.d. 175) testifies 
to the world-wide charity of the Roman' Church (Euseb. //. £. 
iv. 23). 

2 The 'foreign dye' is the colouring-matter which pollutes the 
purity of a stream. The Church had been kept pure from grave 
errors of doctrine and life. For the metaphor cf. Philad. 3. 

^ He had aske i that he might visit Rome. His prayer had 
been granted, with the further favour that he was privileged to 
visit it as a prisoner of Jesus Christ, soon to be glorified by a 
martvr's death. 

* That is, the goal of his ambition, martyrdom. 


end and so receive my inheritance without hindrance. 
For 1 fear lest your very love should do me wrong. 
For you may easily do what you will.^ But for me it 
is difficult to attain unto God, unless you spare me. 

n. For I would not that you should please men, 
but that you should please God,^ as indeed you do. 
For I shall never have such an opportunity of attaining 
unto God, nor can you, if you keep silent, be credited ^ 
with a nobler deed. For if you keep silent and spare 
me, I am a word of God, but if you crave for my flesh, 
I shall again be a mere voice.* [Nay] give me nothing 

^ Christinnify had alrea'ly found ils way into the higher ranks 
of Roman society. In the reign of Domitian (95 A. d. ) ihe consul, 
Flavius Clemens, a cousin of ihe Emperor, liad been executed, and 
his wife banished on a charge which has been proved lo have arisen 
from their profession of Christianity. Ignatius is afraid that in- 
fluence in hifc^h quarters vill result in his respite. Lucian the 
heathen satirist, who wiote about 165 A. D., describes the efforts 
made by the Christians to procure the release of tlieir imprisoned 
brethren {De morte reregiini^ c. 12). 

2 Cf. I Thess. ii. 4. , 

' * lie credited,' liteially, *have your name attached to.* An 
allus'on probably, as Zahn suggests, to the practice of craftsmen, 
who inscribe their names on the work they have completed. The 
idea of Ignatius is that his martyrdom will be a great achievement, 
in which they will have their part by restraining their desire to 
intercede for him. 

* There is a distinction here between \6'yos, * a word,' expn ssing 
the intelligible utterance of a rational being, and ^wj/^, which 
denotes a mere ii rational cry. Both words occur in the opening 
chapter c>f St. John's Gospel, Xir^os^ * the Word,' used ol 
the Eternal Son of God, as Revcaler of the Father, while St. Ji>hn 
the Baptist describes himself as (pavfi, 'a mere voice of one crying,' 
t. e. a mere impersonal instrument. See John i. i, 14, 23 Thus 
the thought of Ignatius Is, * My death will render my life intelligible 
as a living message to man from God, whereas, if I am spared, my 
life will l)e as destitute of meaning as the cry of an irrational 
animal. ' 

The text of the passage, however, shows considerable variation, 
probably due lo alteration through failure to see the above dis- 
tinction. The Greek text and the Armenian version read instead 
of <^wj/^ the word rpexw^, which IJghtfoot understands to mean 
that Ignatius * would be put back again to run the race.' Similarly 
the word \&yos has been changed to ytv^crofiat (' I shall belong to 


more than that I may be poured out as a libation to 
Ciod,^ while yet there is an altar ready, that forming 
a choir in love you may sing to the Father in Jesus 
Christ, because God has granted that the bishoj) from 
Syria ^ should be found in the West, having summoned 
him from the East. Good it is for my sun to set from 
the world unto God, that it may rise unto Him.^ 

HI. You have never grudged * any man. Others you 
have instructed.^ But I would that those lessons, which 
you enjoin in your teaching, may endure.® Only ask 
that I may find power within and without, that I may 
not only say it, but may desire it, that I may not only 

Ciud,' instead of, ' I shall be a word of God ' probably because of 
ihe seeming irreverence in attributing the title, * word of God,' to 
any one but our Lord. 

^ The * libation,' the 'altar,' and the * choir,' are suggested by 
ihe ritual of a iieathen sacrifice. For a similar metaphor cf Eph. 9. 

2 The genitive 2vp(as is probably here equivalent to little more 
than an adjective, 'tiie Syrian bishop,' or * the bishop from Syria.' 
It must not be understood to imply jurisdiction over the whole of 
Syria, as though it were the equivalent of Trjs 4v IZvpicf, iKKKriaiaSj 
* bishop of the church which is in Syri.n.' The organization of 
large dioceses was of later growth, and followed the lines of Roman 
imperial administration. Tlie bishop of the second and third 
centuries resembled, so far as the extent of his administration went, 
the rector of a town*parish in modern times. See Introd. p. 34 note. 

' Ignatius plays on the words bvffiSj * West,' lit. 'setting of the 
sun,' and avaroK-fj, * East,' lit. * rising of the sun.' 

•* i$a<rK<iyar€j lit. 'envied.' The word is found in Gal. iii. I, 
and means literally 'to bewitch,' with special reference to the 
j)()wer of the evil eye. The derived notion of 'envy ' follows from 
this use. Ignatius means * You have never grudged any one the 
honour of martyrdom.' 

^ Probably a reference to the encouragement and exhortations 
given to previous martyrs by the Roman Christians. The par- 
ticular form, however, of the following sentence rather favours the 
view that Ignatius is referring to some definite, written charge 
upon the subject, such as is found in the letter of Clement of Rome 
to the Corinthians, which contains exhortations to follow the 
example of the martyrs. 

® Ignatius expresses the hope that they will not depart, in his 
own case, from, the principles of the teaching which they have 
given to others on the subject of martyrdom. 


be called but be found a Christian. For if I be found a 
Christian, then can I also receive the name ; then too 
can I be faithful when I am not visible to the world. 
Nothing that is visible is good.^ For our God, Jesus 
Christ, is the more clearly visible now that He is in 
the Father. 2 The Work is not of persuasive eloquence,^ 
but Christianity is a thing of might whenever it is hated 
by the world. 

IV. I write unto all the churches, and charge them all 
to know that I die willingly for God, if you hinder not. 
I intreat you, do not unseasonably befriend me. Suffer 
me to belong to the wild beasts, through whom I may 
attain unto God. I am God's grain, and I am ground 
by the teeth of wild beasts, that I may be found pure 
bread.* Rather entice the wild beasts to become my 
tomb, and to leave naught of my body, that I may not, 
when I have fallen asleep, prove a burden to any man.^ 

^ * Visible,* e.g. material and transient. Cf. 2 Cor. iv. i8. 
Ignatius is speaking of the material world as it exists apart from 
God. On his general view of the relations of * spirit ' and * matter,' 
see Introd. § 4. 

* A paradox. Christ's true power, manifested in the life of the 
Church, is more clearly seen now that He has passed out of the 
sight of human eyes, than it was when in His earthly life He was 
subject to the malice and misunderstanding of men. 

3 Cf. Eph. 14. *The Work' is the Gospel. Chiisiianity is 
not a matter of words but of deeds. Cf. the old motto *taire et 

* Some MSS. add, after * bread,' ihe words * of Christ,' while 
others have * of God,' and others omit both. The figure in this 
passage is suggested by the sacrificial loaves which were ofiercd 
both among Jews and Gentiles. Lightfoot would see a more 
definite reference to the Pentecostal loaves (Lev. xxiii. 17). The 
* pure ' bread is that which was made of the finest flour. Ignatius 
is the grain which is ground by the teeth of the beasts and fitted for 
an offering to God. 

* He is thinking of the difficulties likely to attend his burial. 
The spurious Acts of the martyrdom vary in their account of the 
treatment of his reliques. The Antiochi ne Acts narrate (c. 6) that 
only the tougher parts of his reliques were left, and that these were 
carried back to Antioch and laid in a sarcophagus. The Roman 


Then shall I truly be a disciple of Jesus Christ, when 
the world shall not see even my body. Intreat the 
Lord for me, that by these instruments ^ I may be found 
a sacrifice unto God. I do not enjoin you in the manner 
of Peter and Paul.^ They were Apostles, I am a con- 
demned man. They were free, I, until this moment, am 
a slave. But if I suffer, I am Jesus Christ's freedman,^ 
and in Him I shall arise free. Now in my bonds I am 
learning to give up all desires. 

V. From Syria unto Rome I am fighting with wild 
beasts * by land and sea, by night and day, bound to 

Acts state that the beasts only crushed him lo death, without 
touching his flesh, * that his reliques might he a pro'ection to the 
great city of the Romans' (c. 10). On the later history of his 
reliques see Introd. § 3. 
^ That is, the wild beasts. 

* Both these Apostles had been connected with the Roman 
Church. Their names also appear in conjunction in the letter 
written by Clement of Rome to the Corinthians, c. 5. St. Peter's 
residence at Rome, with his martyrdom there, rests on too strong 
evidence to be rejected. It is explicitly mentioned by a succession 
of Chiislian writers in the latter half of the second century, i.e. by 
Dionysius of Corinth, Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Clement of Alexan- 
dria. The * Church in Babylon 'in i Pet. v. 13 is now generally 
understood to refer to Rome. Finally, the Roman presbyter Gains 
tells us that in his day {area 2CO a.d. ) the tombs of the two 
Apostles were to be seen on the Vatican and Ostian Ways. On 
the other hand the evidence for their martyrdom at the same time 
is slender, being derived from the statement of Dionysius of Corinth, 
who wrote in the second half of the second century (c. 175 a.d.), 
and was not intimately connected with the Roman Church. Accord- 
ingly some recent scholars have rejected his statement and incline 
to the view that St. Peter was the survivor of St. Paul. This 
would help to account for the greater prominence of his name in 
later days in the memory of the Roman Church. See Ramsay, CA. 
in A*. J?., p. 279 flf. ; Sanday, Expositor^ IV. vii. p. 411 f. ; 
Swete, St. Mark, p. xvii f. 

* I Cor. vii. 22.. 

^ Oripio/xaxa. Based on I Cor. xv. 32, where it is use«l meta- 
phorically of human opponents. Here the usage is similar, but also 
looks forward to the literal fulfdment of the words in his coming 


ten leopards,^ that is, a company of soldiers,^ whose 
usage grows still harsher when they are hberally treated.^ 
Yet through their unjust doings I am more truly learn- 
ing discipleship. Yet am I not hereby justified.^ May 
I have joy of the beasts that are prepared for me. I 
pray too that they may prove expeditious with me. I 
will even entice them to devour me expeditiously, and 
not to refrain, as they have refrained from some,^ through 
fear. And even though they are not willing without 
constraint,^ I will compel them. Pardon me. I know 
what is expedient for me. Now I am beginning to be a 
disciple. May naught of things visible or invisible seek 
to allure' me; that 1 may attain unto Jesus Christ. 

^ It has been urged that the use of this word is an anachronism 
and a proof that this letter is not genuine, the word not being found 
in any writer of the second century. Lightfoot, however, refers to 
its use in a rescript of the Emperors Marcus and Commodus (a.u. 
177-180), and a still earlier use by Galen about half a century after 
the time of Ignatius. The word is probably of Roman origin, and 
Lightfoot shows that it was already in process of formation in the 
time of Pliny some thirty or forty years before this time. Syrian 
leopards are mentioned by Vopiscus as having been exhibited by 
the Emperor Probus. See Lightfoot in loco. 

* His escort consisted of ten soldiers, who relieved one another in 
tuin. Like St. Paul (Acts xxviii. 16, 20), Ignatius was attached 
by a * coupling-chain ' to a guard by night and day. 

' This probably refers to the sums of money given to the soldiers 
by f) lends of Ignatius to procure for him better treatment. This 
common Christian practice is alluded to in Lucian's famous satire 
on the Christians, De Morte Peregritti, c. 12. 

^ I Cor. iv. 4. 

^ Cf. Euseb. H. E. viii. 7, where similar instances arc cited in 
the case of the Egyptian martyrs. Similar incidents are recorded of 
the martyrs of Vienne in 177 a.d. (Euseb. H. E. v. i). In the 
present passage Ramsay, following Zahn, thinks that there is a 
reference to- the story of-ThecIa as contained in a first-century 
document on which he supposes the Acts of Paul and Thecla to be 
based {Ch. in R. Emp. pp. 381, 404). 

® Lightfoot, however, translates * to devour me, though I am 

■^ fi7A<tf(70i. Cf. Gal. iv. 17 ; 2 Cor. xi. 2. In both those passages, 
and probably in the present passage, there is the idea of a'^siduous 
attention. Lightfoot, however, understands the word to mean 
* envy.' 


Come fire and cross and conflicts with wild beasts.^ 
wrenching of bones, mangling of limbs, crushing of the 
whole body ; come grievous torments of the devil upon 
me, — only may they aid me in attaining unto Jesus 

VI. The furthest bounds of the universe, and the 
kingdoms of this world shall profit me nothing. It is 
better for me to die for the sake of Jesus Christ than to 
reign over the boundaries of the earth. Him I seek 
Who died for us. Him I desire, Who rose [for our sakes]. 
My travail-pains are upon me.^ Forgive me, brethren. 
Hinder me not from entering into Hfe : desire not my 
death. Bestow not upon the world him who desires to 
be God's ; nor tempt me with the things of this life. 
Suffer me to receive pure light. When I come thither 
then shall I be a man indeed. Suffer me to be an 
imitator of the passion of my God. If any man has 
Him dwelling in him, let him understand what I 
desire, and have fellow-feeling with me, knowing what 
constrains me. 

VII. The prince of this world ^ desires to make me 
his spoil ^ and corrupt my purpose, towards God. Let 
none of you then who are at hand assist him. Rather 
be on my side, that is, belong to God. Use not the 
words * Jesus Christ ' and yet desire the world. Let 
not envy make its dwelling within you. Even though 
I should come and intreat you, hearken not even to me, 
but rather trust these words which I write unto you. 
For I write unto you in the midst of life, enamoured 

* The Greek text and the Armenian Version in the Marty rology 
add here * gashes and rendings.' 

^ Ignatius represents both mother and child. The pains are the 
agonies of marly I dom, which result in the birth of the new Ignatius, 
born into the higher life. 

^ Cf. Eph. 17 note. 

^ Cf. Mark iii. 27. 


of death. My Love ^ has been crucified, and there is 
not within me any fire of earthly desire,^ but only water 
that lives ^ and speaks in me,^ and says from within 
me, *Come hither to the Father/ I have no pleasure 
in the food of corruption nor in the pleasures of this 
material life. I desire God's bread,^ which is the flesh 
of Christ, Who is of the seed of David,* and for drink 
I desire His blood, which is love incorruptible.' 

1 ^p«$. This woid has been understood in two widely different 
senses — 

{a) Zahn and Lightfoot understand it to mean Move' in the 
lower sense of * lust,' * passion.' According to this view Ignatius 
declares that he has crucified the carnal pa<;sions of his nature. In 
the only two passages of the LXX where the word occurs, it bears 
this sense. See Prov. vii. i8, xxx. i6. It does not occur in the 
N. T., which uses aydirri to denote *love.' 

(^) An interpretation which has been current since the time of 
Origen's Cofumentary on the Song of Songs, refers <£pu>s objectivfly 
to Christ. * My Love has been crucified.' And so the words were 
commonly understood by later writers. This interpretation is 
rejected by Zahn and Lightfoot, but it has found a fresh defender 
in Dr. C. Bigg {Bampton Lectures, p. viii f.). lie shows fairly 
conclusively that ^pws and its cognates may be used in a higher 
sense, and also that epo^j may be used of the object of love. This 
sense agrees too with the context. Ignatius is *in love' with 
death, * because Christ, his Beloved, is crucified, and perfect union 
with Him will be attained by death.' His love for Christ draws 
him away froqj material things. On the whole this interpretation, 
perhaps, suits best the highly imaginative fervour of the passage. 

* Reading with Zahn and Lightfoot <^ik6vKov = ' loving matter,' 
* carnal.' 

* The phrase * living water' recalls John iv. lo, ii. For its 
use in connection with the Spirit, see John vii. 38-39. 

* The words xal \a\ovv (* water . . . that speakelh ') are prob- 
ably corrupt. If retained they must be held to refer to the 
prophetic power said to be imjiarted by certain springs to those 
who drank them. Lightfoot thinks that the longer Greek recensicm 
has here preserved the true text, aA\(J/i6i/ov for koI \a\ovv. This 
would present a further parallel to St. John's Gospel (iv. 14), and 
the passage would run, * water that lives and springs up.* 

* Cf. John vi. 33, and the section John vi. 48-59. 

^ Cf. Kph. 18. Ignatius may have the Docetic teachers in mind. 
Only if Christ has become truly incarnate, is it possible for our 
manhood to be united with God. 

' See note on Trail. 8. The parallelism of that passage suggests 


Vni. I desire no longer to live the common life of 
men. And this will be granted, if it is your desire. 
Desire it, that you too may be desired. In a short 
letter I entreat you. Believe me, Jesus Christ shall 
make this clear to you, that I speak truly — even He 
Who is the Mouth which cannot speak falsely, whereby 
the Father spake [truly]. Intreat for me, that I may 
attain in the Holy Spirit. I write not unto you after 
the flesh, but after the mind of God. If I suffer, it is 
because you desired it. If I be rejected, it is because 
of your hatred. 

IX. Remember in your prayer ^ tl.e Church in Syria, ^ 
since it hath God as its shepherd ^ in nSy room. Jesus 
Christ alone shall be its bishop^ — together with your 
love. But as for me, I am ashamed to be spoken of 

as one of them. Nor indeed am I worthy, since I am 
the last of them and one born out of due time ; * but 
I have received mercy that I should be some one, if 
haply I may attain unto God. My spirit salutes you, 
as also does the love of the churches which received 
me in the name of Jesus Christ, not as one that merely 
passed by, for even the churches which lay not^ natur- 
ally near to my route went before me from city to city.^ 

X. I write this unto you from Smyrna by the hand 
of the Ephesians' who are worthy of congratulation. 

that the clause 'which is love incorruptible' refers to * His Blood.' 
Then love is regarded as the means of union with the incarnate 
Chiist, or, better still, as the fruit and issue of that union. Zahn, 
however, refers the words to the whole preceding sentence. * The 
participation in the flesh and blood of Christ is love incorruptible.' 
He sees in it a reference to the Agape or Love-Feast. 

^ Cr. Ej.h. 21. 2 Qf I p^^^t ii 25, V. 2. 

* Cl. Polyc. inscr. 

* Suggested by I Cor. xv. 8 sq. See Introd. § 3. 

* The shorter Syriac version omits the negative. 

* That is, to prepare his welcome. 

' So Lightfoot. But it is possible that here, as in Fhihid. 11, 
Smyrn. 12, the preposition used (Sid) refers to the bearer rather 



There is with me also, along with many others, Crocus, 
a name dear to me. Concerning those who went before 
me from Syria to Rome unto the glory of God I believe 
that you have received full tidings. Inform them also 
of my approach. For they are all worthy of God and 
of you, and it is fitting that you should in every way 
refresh them. I am writing this to you on the Qlh day 
before the Kalends of September. Farewell unto the 
end in patient abiding for Jesus Christ. 

than to the scribe of the epistle. Cf. Polyearp, Phil. 14, and 
I Pet. V. 12, in the former of which the hearer seems referred to. 



[Philadelphia, a city of Lydia, lay upon the great road which 
connected Northern Phrygia and Galatia with Sardis and touched 
the -/EgKan at Smyrna. It does not appear to have attained any 
great importance, but from the number of its temples and festivals 
it received the name of * little Athens.' This shows that it was 
a stronghold of the ancient religion. The first mention of the 
Christian Church there is in Rev. iii. 7-13. It probably dates 
from the stay of St. Paul at Ephesus (see Acts xix.). Already in 
Rev. iii. 9 the mention of the Jews occupies an important place, 
and there are traces of Judaistic error. But the Church as a whole 
receives high commendation (Rev. iii. 8, 10). In aifter days the 
city won great renown for its long resistance to the Turks, but it 
finally capitulated in 1390 A. i). The present city, Ala-Shehr, con- 
tains a considerable Christian population under a resident Greek 

Ignatius had passed through Philadelphia (cc. i, 6, 7) and Smyrna 
on his way to Troas. Accordingly, whereas in writing to the 
Ephesians, Trallians, and Magnesians, he warns them generally 
against heresy, without directly charging them with it, in the 
present epistle he is dealing with the dangers actually existing in 
a Church with which he is personally acquainted. 

The heresy which he attacks is plainly Judaistic (cc. 6, 8, 9), 
of a strongly developed character. The false teachers had organized 
themselves apparently into a schism (cc. 3, 7). The traces of 
Docetism are only incidental (see inscr. and cc. 3, 8). They are 
not sufficient to justify the view that the heresy was current at 
Philadelphia (see Add. Note i). Nor is it necessary with Ilarnack 
{Expository March 1886, and Chronologic^ pp. 389 «., 393 «.) to 
see in cc. 8, 9 traces of a third tendency. The passages most 
naturally refer to the Judaistic teachers. See notes. 

This epistle was one of the three epistles written from Troas. 
Ignatius had been joined at that place by two friends, who had 
followed his route, and had stayed at Philadelphia. There they 
had been welcomed by the Church as a whole, but had in some 
way been slighted, probably by the heretical party, who also 
appear to have brought false charges against Ignatius (see cc. 6, 
11). These incidents called forth the present letter.] 

Ignatius, who is also Theophorus, to the Church 
of God the Father and Jesus Christ which is at 
F 81 


Philadelphia in Asia,^ to her who has received mercy 
and is established in godly concord and rejoices in the 
passion ^ of our Lord and in His resurrection without 
wavering, being fully persuaded in all mercy ; her I 
salute in the blood of Jesus Christ ; seeing that it is 
eternal and enduring joy, especially if they be at one 
with the bishop and with the presbyters who are with 
him, and with the deacons appointed according to the 
mind^ of Jesus Christ; whom of His own will He 
established, confirming them by His Holy Spirit. 

L For I perceived that this bishop of yours did not 
owe to himself or to the agency of men ^ his ministry, 
which pertains to the common good, ndr does he hold it 
with vain glory, but in the love of God the Father and 
the Lord Jesus Christ. For I have been amazed at his 
forbearance ; who by his silence effects more than those 
who speak. For he is tuned in harmony^ with the 
commandments as a lyre with its strings. Therefore my 
soul blesses his godly purpose, perceiving that it is 
virtuous and perfect, even his unruffled and quiet spirit, 
since he lives in all godly forbearance.® 

n. As children therefore of truth flee division and 
false doctrines, and where the shepherd is there follow as 

^ i. e. in the Roman province of Asia. According to local 
divisions Philadelphia was in Lydia. 

* Ignatius is continually dwelling on the Passion of Christ. It 
is possible that here, as L'ghtfoot suggests, his language is influ- 
enced by the remembrance of the Docetic denial of the Passion. 

'* The appointment of these deacons by the Church and its 
officers had been confirmed by the gift of the Holy Spirit, convey- 
ing to them the sanction of Christ Himself. 

■* An echo of Gal. i. i. 

^ The metaphor here is confused and difficult. Unless the text 
is corrupt, and we read in the last part of the sentence, * as the 
strings with the lyre,' we must attribute the expression to the 
extreme haste of composition, which this epistle exhibits also in 
other parts. 

• 1 he words may also mean, * in all forbearance inspired by a 
living God.' 


sheep. For there are many wolves ^ who by specious 
professions lead captive with fatal pleasures the runners 
in God's course ; ^ but while you continue in unity these 
shall have no place. ^ 

III. Abstain from evil herbs,^ whose husbandman* is 
not Jesus Christ, because they are not the planting of 
the Father.^ I say not this because I found division 
among you but rather sifting.® For as many as kre of 
God and Jesus Christ, these are with the bishop. And 
as many as repent and enter the unity of the Church, 
they also shall belong to God, that they may be living 
according to Jesus Christ. Be not deceived, my 
brethren. If any one follow a man that causes schism, 
he does not inherit God's kingdom. If any man walks 
in strange opinions, he has no part in the passion. 

IV. Therefore give heed to keep one Eucharist.^ 
For there is one flesh ® of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one 
cup unto union with His blood. There is one altar,® as 

^ Tliis recalls Matt. vii. 15. Cf. John x. 12, Acts xx. 2). 
^ The favourite Pauline metaphor. Cf. Gal. v. 7, i Cor. ix. 
24 sq. 

' Cf. Trail. 6. * Cf. John xv. i, i Cor. iii. 9. 
^ Cf. Matt. XV. 13, and see Trail, ii. 

• The Philadelphians had separated themselves from these heretics. 
Hence Ignatius will not use the word * division,' whicli might imply 
censure, but uses instead, * sifting,' literally * filtering.' Cf. Kom 

■^ Cf. Smyrn. 8. With the exception of the reference in the 
Doctrine of the Twelve Apostles^ c. 9, these pas-^ages of Ignatius 
are the earliest certain instances of the name * Eucharist ' applied 
to the Holy Communion. In Clement of Rome, c. 41, however, 
the verb evxapiare'iVj * to give thanks,' is used of the public service 
of the Church, and prol ably refers to the Eucharist. 

^ Cf. I Cor. X. 16, 17, which probably suggested this lanj^uage. 

• Ovffiaar'fipioif. Sec Magn. 7 (note). As we have seen, in that 
passage the word means probably * the court of the altar,' a sense 
which it plainly bears in Eph. 5 and Trail. 7. The idea was 
sugi^istcd by the arrangements of tiie Jewish tabernacle and temple. 
This may be the sense in Rev. xi. i, as it is in Clement of Rome, 
c. 41. The common idea underlying all these passages is * a place of 
sacrifice,' or * a sanctuary.' In the present passage the * sanctuary ' 


there is one bishop, together with the presbytery and 
deacons, my fellow-servants; that whatsoever you do, 
you may do according unto God. 

V. My brethren, my soul is wholly poured out in love 
for you. And because I rejoice exceedingly, I put you 
on your guard, yet not I, but Jesus Christ, whose prisoner 
I am : and therefore I fear the more, since I am not yet 
perfected. But your prayer unto God shall perfect me, 
that I may attain unto that lot,^ in which I have obtained 
mercy, because 1 took refuge in the Gospel as the flesh ^ 
of Jesus, and the Apostles^ as the presbytery of the 

is the Christian assembly gathered round tlie Eucharist, and 
forming the counteipart of the congregation of Israel. There is no 
certain and undisputed instance of the use of the word * altar' to 
denote the Holy Table before Irenaeus (iv. i8. 6). * The idea of the 
whole transaction of the Supper as a saciifice is plainly found in 
the Didache {c. 14), in Ignatius, and, above all, in Justin (i. 65 f.).' 
— IJarnack {Hist, of Dogma^ Eng. tr. I. 209). The passage from 
the Didache (or Dochine of the Iwelve Apostles) urges that the 
celebration of the Eucharist should begin with a confession of sin, 
Mhat our sacrifice may be pure.' Alike in the Didache and in 
Justin Martyr we find the prophecy Malachi i. 11 quoted and 
applied to the Eucharist. Similarly Clement of Rome (cc. 40-44) 
compares the bishops and deacons wiih the Fricsts and Leviies of 
the Old Testament, and mentions as the chief duty of the former 
* to offer the gifts.' In addition to the prayers and thanksgivings 
(Sniyrn. 6, Eph. 13, cf Didache 9), the alms (cf. Polyc. /'////. 4), 
and oblations of bread and wine (cf. Clement, cited supra) ^ which 
were ngardcd as sacrifices, the association of these with the com- 
memoration of Christ's sacrifice and ' the gift of God ' in the 
Sacrament (Smyrn. 7, cf. Eph. 20), ccnstituted the Christian 
sacrifice or thankoffering (Eucharist). See Justin, Trypho 41, and 
Irenceus, iv. 17. 5. 

^ That is, martyrdom. Cf. Trail. 12. 

* Cf. Trail. 8, note. The outward manifestations of Christ in 
His Incarnation is the substance of the Gospel. Zahn suggests the 
further thought that after the Ascension the preaching of the Gospel 
look the place of the earthly manifestation of the Lord. 

^ The * Gospel ' and the * Apostles' plainly refer to the authorities 
on which Ignatius bases his faith. Some have seen in the words an 
allusion to two distinct collections of writings, /. e. our four Gospels 
and the collection of the Apostolic epistles. From the fact that 
Polycarp in his one short epistle quotes nine out of the thirteen 


Church. And the prophets morever we love,^ because 
they too looked forward to the Gospel in their preaching, 
and hoped in Him and waited for Him ; in Whom also 
they believed and were saved '^ in the unity of Jesus 
Christ, for they were worthy of our love and admiration, 
being holy men, testified of by Jesus Christ and enrolled 
together in the Gospel of our common hope. 

VI. If any man in his interpretation ^ set forth 
Judaism unto you, hear him not. For it is better to 
hear Christianity from one who is circumcised than 
to hear Judaism from an uncircumcised man.^ But if 
both speak not of Jesus Christ, I reckon them to be 
tombstones and graves of the dead,^ whereon are in- 
scribed merely names of men. Flee therefore the 
malicious arts and snares of the prince of this world,® 
lest being worn out by his suggestions you grow weak 
in love. But meet together, all of you, with an 

epistles of St. Paul we may conclude that he possessed a collection 
ot these epistles. In the time of Justin {circa 150 a.d.) we learn 
that gospels were read at the Sunday Eucharist. We sliould be 
assuming, however, too much in saying that in the time of Ignatius 
the collection of the four gospels had acquired a fixed authority side 
by side with that of the old Testament prophets, and distinct from 
the Apostolic epistles. The words are probably a more general 
expression for the Gospel as publicly taught and set forth in the 
writings, whether gospels or epistles, of the Apostles. 

* Probably Ignatius has in mind the Judaizers who set up the 
authority of the Old Te^^tament books and ]iriesthood (cf. c. 9) 
against the Gospel, lie may be replying to some charj^e laid 
against the teaching of the Church as disparaging the Old Testament. 
For his treatment of tlie prophets cf. Magn. 8 (notes). 

'^ Cf. Mngn. 9 (notes). 

* That is, the interpretation of the Old Testament and especially 
the prophets. The allusion is to the interpretations of the Judaizers. 

* The uncircumcised man is a Gentile Christian who has a 
tendency to Judaistic practices. Among such practices circumcision 
was evidently at this lime not included. This corresponds with 
what we know of the later developments of Ebionism. 

•'' Cf. Malt, xxiii. 27. Harnnck sees in the following words a 
reference to Kev. iii. 12. 
« Cf. Eph. 17 (note). 


undivided heart. I thank my God that 1 have a good 
conscience in regard to you, and no man can boast that 
either in secret or openly I have been burdensome to 
any one ^ in things great or small. Yea, and for all 
among whom I have spoken I pray that my words may 
not prove to be a witness against them. 

VII. For even if after the flesh some wished to lead 
me astray, yet the Spirit is not deceived since it is from 
God. For it knoweth whence it cometh and whither it 
goeth,^ and it convicts the things which are in secret. 
I cried aloud, when I was among you,^ I spake with a 
loud voice, with the voice of God, * Give heed unto the 
bishop and the presbytery and deacons.' But they 
suspected* that I said this because I knew beforehand 
the division caused by some ; ^ yet He is my witness. 
Whose prisoner I am, that I learned it not from human 
flesh. But it was the Spirit ® Who kept preaching in 
these words : * Do nothing without the bishop. Keep 
your flesh as a shrine of God. Love union. Flee 
divisions. Become followers of Jesus Christ as He also 
was of the Father.' 

* Cf. 2 Cor. xi. 9, xii. i6, I Thcss. ii. 6. Probably Ignatius is 
meeting some charge made against himself in reference to his con- 
duct while at Philadelphia. The charge may refer to overbearing 
conduct. How he came to know of such charges is explained in 
c. II. 

* In addition to John iii. 8, there are parallels to the expression 
' knoweth not whence . . . goeih' in John viii. 14, ix. 29, xii. 35, 
I John ii. II, and oiher passages. On the affinities of thought and 
language between the Epistles of Ignatius and the Fourth Gospel 
see Introd. p. 29. 

' On the route of Ignatius, see Introd. § 3. 
• ■* The text is in some confusion. Lighttoot's reading has been 

^ The Judaistic party had plainly organized themselves into a 
schism. Cf. c. 3. 

•^ Ignatius here speaks of himself as the recipient of a spiritual 
revelation. The gift of prophecy had not yet died out. Similarly 
Polycarp is called 'an apostolic and prophetic teacher' {Mart. 
Polyc, 16). 


VIII. I therefore have done my own part as a man 
perfectly established in union. But where there is 
division and wrath, God dwells not. Therefore the 
Lord forgives all that repent, if on their repentance they 
turn to the unity of God and the council of the bishop. 
I believe in the grace of Jesus Christ, Who shall loose 
from off you every bond.^ Moreover, I entreat you, 
act not in any matter in the spirit of faction, but as 
disciples of Christ. For I have heard some saying, 
* Except I find it in the archives ^ I believe it not in the 
Gospel.' And when I said to them, * It is written,' ^ 
they answered me, *That is the question in dispute.' 
But my archives^ are Jesus Christ; the inviolable 

* Cf. Ts. Iviii. 6, which is quoted by several early Christian 
writers. The bond refers probably, as Lightfoot says, to the powtr 
of evil generally. 

^ The Greek text and the Latin version read in place of 
'archives' a word which may be translated either 'ancient 
writings' or 'ancient writers.' But as the word 'archives' occurs 
twice below it should probably be read in this place also. The 
word originally means *a place where records are kept,' and then 
came to be used of the documents themselves. The reference here 
is to a collection of ancient authoritative records, i. e. the Old 
Testament, which these writers set up as an authority against the 
Gospel, and with which they required the Gospel to agree. Others, 
however, understand 'archives ' to mean the original copies of ihe 
Gospel, with which is contrasted the traditional Gospel as preached 
and taught. These teachers would then be represented as claiming 
that the (Jospel had been falsified, and we should translate, * Except 
I find it in the archives, that is, in the (written) Gospel, I do not 
believe it.' This rendering, however, gives an unjustifiable sense 
to the word ' Gospel ' and does not suit the argument of the chapter 
so well. 

^ Ignatius claims that the points in question are found in the 
Old Testament. The allusion is doubtless to the Cross, Death, 
and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, which were a stumbling-block 
alike to Judaizers and to those who held Docetic views. A similar 
appeal to the Old Testament had been made in the first age of the 
Church. Cf. Luke xxiv. 26, 46 ; Acts xvii. 3. 

** Ignatius, though above he has claimed that the OM Testament 
witnesses to Christ, here maintains that the relation of Christ to the 
teachers of the Old Covenant is not one of dependence. He is 
Himself the supreme authority, and His Passion and Resurrection 


archives are His Cross and Death and Resurrection, 
and the faith which is through Him. In these I desire 
to be justified through your prayer. 

IX. Good ^ indeed are the priests, but better is the 
High-Priest,2 Who has been entrusted with the Holy of 
Holies, for He alone has been entrusted with the secret 
things of God. He is Himself the Door^ of the 
Father, through which enter in Abraham and Isaac and 
Jacob, and the Prophets and the Apostles and the 
Church. All these combine in the unity of God.* But 
the Gospel has a surpassing gift — even the coming of 
the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, His Passion, His 
Resurrection. For the Prophets, who are dear to us, 
in their preaching looked forward to Him. But the 
Gospel is the crown of incorruption. All things alike 
are good, if you believe by love. 

X. Seeing that, in accordance with your prayer and 
the tender love which you have in Christ Jesus, it has 
been reported to me^ that the Church which is at 

authenticate His mission. Cf. Magn. 8, lo with notes. Below in 
c. 9 he further maintains that Christ is the Door through Whom the 
men of the Old Covenant must find entrance to God. 

^ Here, as in the previous chapter, Ignatius is making concessions 
to the Judaizers. He grants the excellence of the Old Covenant, 
but maintains the superiority of the Gospel, which centres in 
Jesus Christ. 

* This word and the passage which follows seem to show that 
Ignatius is reproducing the ideas of the Epistle to the Hebrews, 
which is also quoted by Clement of Rome, c. 36. Cf especially 
Heb. ix., X. 

* An allusion to John x. 9. Cf. also Rev. iii. 8, and Clem. 
Rom. 48. Similarly in the Shepherd of Hermas (S. ix. 4, 12, 15), 
in the building of the Church, the gate through which the stones 
are carried is the Son of God, and among the stones built into the 
fabric are some which represent the righteous men and prophets 
of old. 

* The Old Covenant finds its true place in the Divine unity of 
revelation, which receives its crowning expression in the Incarnation. 

^ The tidings would be brought by the persons mentioned in 
C. n. 


Antioch in Syria is at peace, it is fitting that you, as a 
Church of God, should appoint ^ a deacon to journey 
thither as an ambassador of God, to rejoice with them 
when ihey are met together; and to glorify the Name. 
Blessed in Jesus Christ is he who shall be deemed 
worthy of such a ministry. You too shall be glorified. 
Moreover, if you desire it, it is not impossible for you 
to do this for God's Name ; even as the churches which 
lie nearest have sent bishops, and others presbyters and 

XI. Concerning Philo, the deacon from Cilicia, a 
man well reported of, who even now is ministering for 
me in the word of God,^ together with Rhaius Agatho- 
pus, an elect man, who accompanies me from Syria, 
having bidden farewell to the ordinary life of men; 
who also bear witness unto you — I too thank God for 
you, that you received them, as the Lord shall receive 
you. May they who treated them dishonourably be 
ransomed by the grace of Jesus Christ. The love of 
the brethren who are at Troas salutes you, whence also 
I write unto you by the hand of Burrhus,^ who was sent 
with me by them of Ephesus and Smyrna to do me 
honour. They shall receive honour from the Lord 
Jesus Christ, in Whom they hope in flesh, soul, spirit, 
by faith, love, conco:d. Farewell in Jesus Christ, our 
common Hope. 

^ Cf. similar directions in Smyrn. 11, Polyc. 7. 
'^ Or, as Zahn, ' ministering to me in the cause of God.' 
^ So Lighifoot. But Burrhus may have been the bearer of llie 
epistle. See note on Rom. 10. 


[Smyrna was one of the oldest of the Greek cities on the west 
coast of Asia. During the first and second centuries a.d. it vied 
with Ephesus and Pergamos in claiming the title * first city of Asia.' 
Of the foundation of the Church at Smyrna we have no record in 
the New Testament, but it may possibly be placed at some period 
durijig St. Paul's three years' residence at Ephesus, as it was within 
easy reach of that city and was a great centre of trade. We have 
a picture of the Church in this city in Rev. ii. 8-11. That passage 
contains an allusion to persecution (ii. 10), and also to the hostility 
and calumnies of the Jews (ii. 9). Ignatius had stayed at Smyrna 
and had received a warm welcome from the Church and its bishop 
Polycarp. The number of salutations would point to his having 
n.ade many friends there. The present letter was written from 
Troas. The rapid transition, immciliately after the opening 
salutation, to the sjibject of the Docetic heresy (cc. 1-7) seems to 
show that the Church at Smyrna bad been endangered by its 
presence. Moreover in c. 7 Ignatius warns his readers against 
associating with these heretics. The epistle contains the most 
detailed account of Docelism to be found in the Ignatian writings. 
From c. 6 we learn that these heretics had neglected the practical 
duties of Christianity. From cc. 7, 8 it appears that they had 
formed into separatist communities (see notes). Hence the heresy 
is probably of a more developed character than that referred to in 
the t pistles to the Ephesians and Trallians. There are, however, 
no allusions to Judaism unless we except cc. 5, 7. The opening 
words of c. I indicate that as yet the Church had remained stead- 
fast. In cc. 7, 8 there is a strong statement of the unity of the 
Church. Of special interest is the occurrence for the first time in 
Chris'ian literature of the phrase *the Catholic Church '] 

Ignatius, who is also Theophorus, to the Church of 
God the Father and Jesus Christ the Beloved,^ to her 
that has been mercifully blessed with every gift, filled 
with faith and love, lacking in no gift, most highly 
revered, the bearer of sacred vessels,^ to the Church 

1 Cf. Eph. i. 6. 

^ ayio<f>6p(i>j 'fruitful in saints,' Wake, following Pearson. Prob- 
ably, however, the idea is the same as in Eph. 9, and contains an 



which is at Smyrna in Asia, in a blameless spirit and in 
the word of God heartiest greeting. 

I. I render glory to Jesus Christ the God ^ Who has 
given you such wisdom. For I have perceived that you 
are firmly settled in unwavering faith, being nailed, as 
it were, to the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ ^ in flesh 
and spirit, and firmly planted in love in the blood of 
Christ, being fully convinced as touching our Lord that 
He is truly of the race of David after the flesh, and Son 
of God after the Divine will and power ,^ truly born of 
a virgin, baptized by John, that all righteousness might 
be fulfilled by Him,* under Pontius Pilate and Herod 
the Tetrarch ^ truly nailed for us in the flesh (of Whose 
fruit are we,® even of His most blessed Passion) ; that 

allusion to the heathen ceremonial. *The "sacred vessels" which 
the Church of Smyrna bears are its Christian graces and virtues.' 


^ The Armenian and Coptic versions omit the words 'the God.' 
On the other hand, ihe Greek text and the Latin version contain 
them, and the passage is quoted by two P'alhers of the sixth century 
with the words inserted. On Ignatius' use of the word 'God 'as 
a- plied to Jesus Christ see Introd § 4. 

* Cf. Gal. ii. 20. But here the idea is faith in the reality of the 
suftVrings and death of Christ upon the Cross. Cf. Polyc. Phil. 7. 

* Cf. Eph. 18, note. 

* Cf. Matt. iii. 15. 

^ VS. Luke xxiii. 7-12 ; Acts iv. 27 ; and see Introd. p. 17. 

* Cf. Trail. II. The Cross here, as in that passage, is repre- 
sented apparently as a tree. 

The words a^)' 0% Kapirov are rendered by Wake, following the 
Latin translator, ' by the fruits of which we are, even by His most 
blessed Passion,' the * which ' referring to the tree of the Cross. 
Zahn lakes a similar construction, but refers the relative pronoun 
to Christ. In this case the fruit would be the Christian converts, 
in whom Christ ' sees of the travail of His soul,' and the meanincr 
would be further explained by the following words, * even of His 
most blessed Passion.' In illustration Zahn quotes John iv. 36, 
Rom. i. 13, I Cor. ix. 19 sq. This seems preferable to Lightfoot's 
rendering, ' from whicli fruit are we,' which requires us to represent 
Christ Himself as * the fruit hanging upon the tree.* Possibly, 
however, the text is corrupt and we should read Kapwolj 'of Whom 
we are the fruits.' This would find a parallel in a piissage from 


He might raise up an ensign ^ to the ages through His 
resurrection, for His saints and beHevers, whether among 
Jews or Gentiles, in one body of His Church.^ 

II. For all these sufferings He endured for our sakes 
[that we might be saved]. And He truly suffered, as 
also He truly raised Himself up.^ Nor is it the case, as 
some unbelievers affirm, that He suffered in semblance 
— it is they who are semblance.* And according to their 
opinions, so shall it happen unto them, for they are 
unsubstantial and spirit-like.^ 

III. For I know^ and believe that He was in the flesh 
even after the resurrection. And when He came to 

Clement of Alexandria quoted by Zahn, where the church is called 
* His fruits ' (Kapiroi). 

The whole clause * of whose fruit . . . Passion ' is a parenthesis. 
The following words * that He might raise ' belong to the preceding 

^ A reference to Isaiah v. 26 ; cf. also xlix. 22, Ixii. 10. In all 
these passages the reference is to the rallying of the nations round 
the standard of Jehovah, set up among the chosen people. Ignatius 
sees a fulfilment of the prophecy in the Passion crowned by the 
Resurrcctit)n. Jerome states that some Christian writers undei stood 
the passage Is. v. 26 to refer to the Cross. The symbolism is 
certainly found earlier than the time when Constantino adopted 
the Cross as his standard, and may have betn suggested by the 
language of John xii. 32. 

^ The language of this passage clearly recalls the teaching of 
St. Paul's Epistle to the Epliesians. Cf. Eph. ii. 16, iii. 6, i. 23 
etc.; Col. i. 18 

' In c. 6 Ignatius speaks of Christ as being raised by the Fatluer, 
and this is the more general language of the N. T. But with the 
present passage cf. John x. 18. 

* Cf. Trail. 9, 10, where there is a similar play on the word 
Stf/cijrrts, 'seeming,* from which these teachers derived their name 

* The denial of the reality of the human nature of the Lord 
involved the denial of the resurrection of the body. There is 
•probably an allusion to this in these last phiases. Ignatius has 
also in view, probably, the quotation which follows in the next 
chapter, * I am not a spirit without body.* 

" The Latin version here reads * I have seen ' in place of * I 
know.* This was probably due to a careless translation found in 
Jerome ( Vt'r. Illustr. 16), who is plainly quoting at second-hand 
from Eusebius. 


Peter and those who were with him, He said to them, 

* Take, handle me and see that I am not a spirit without 
body.' ^ And straightway they touched Him and believed, 
being united with His flesh and spirit.^ Therefore also 
they despised death, and were found to rise above death. 
Moreover after His resurrection He ate with them and 
drank with them,^ as living in the flesh, although spiritu- 
ally united with the Father. 

IV. Now these things I urge upon you, beloved, 
knowing that you also are thus minded. But I watch 
over you to guard you from wild beasts in the form 
of men, whom you must not only refuse to receive, 
but, if possible, not even meet [them]. Only pray for 
them, if haply they may repent. Though this * is 
difficult, yet Jesus Christ, our true Life, has power to 
effect it. For if these deeds were wrought by our 
Lord in mere semblance, then too are my bonds mere 
semblance. Why moreover have I surrendered myself 

^ The incident reconltd here bears a strong resemblance to that 
in Luke xxiv. 36-42. But there are striking dilTerences, which 
show that it comes from a different source. Especially interesting 
is the phiase *an incorporeal spirit,' whereas St. Luke has *a spirit 
hath not flesh and bones.' Wliether Ignatius derived the quotation 
from some apocryphal Gospel or from tradition, it is difTicult to 
say. Eusebius quotes this passage of Ij^natius {H. E. iii. 36), but 
admits his ignorance of the source of it. The words are ascribed 
by Origen to the ap )cryphal 'Doctrine of Peter,' and by Jeiome 
to the Gospel according to the Hebrews. In any case the words 
would ai)pear to represent a later tradition than the simpler and 
more natural words of St. Luke. 

* Reading * spirit ' wiih the Greek text and the Latin and Coptic 
versions. The Armenian veision, however, reads * blood,' which 
Lightfoot prefers. Against the argument (see Lightfoot) that 

* spirit ' miglit easily be substituted for ' blood,' may be set the 
counter-argument that the difiicully of understanding how the dis- 
cioles could be * joined to His Spirit' may have led to the alteration 
'blood.' The invitatii»n to feel the nail-prints might suggest the 
word * blood.' On the other hand it is possible that Ignatius had 
in mind John xx. 20-22 and the incident of the gift of the Spirit of 
the risen Christ. 

' Luke xxiv. 30, 35, 42 ; John xxi. 13. 
■* I. e. their repentance. 


to death, to face fire, sword, wild beasts? Yet he that 
is near to the sword is near to God,^ in the presence 
of wild beasts, in the presence of God — only may it be 
in the name of Jesus Christ, that we may suffer with 
Him. All things I endure,^ since He, the perfect Man, 
makes me strong.® 

V. Yet Him certain persons ignorantly deny, or 
rather they have been denied by Him,* for they are 
advocates of death '^ rather than of the truth. They 
have not hearkened unto the prophecies nor the law 
of Moses,^ nor even up till now to the Gospel, nor to 
the sufferings which we severally endure. "^ For they 
have the same thoughts also about us.® For what 
profit is it to me, if a man praises me, but speaks evil 
of my Lord, refusing to confess that He has borne our 
flesh ? But he that will not assert this has completely 
denied Him, and himself bears about with him a 
corpse.® Now their names, since they are unbelievers, 
I have not thought good to write. May I not even 
remember them, until they have repented and turned 
to the Passion, which is our resurrection. 

^ Cf. a saying attributed to our Lord, recorded by Didymus on 
Ps. Ixxxviii. 8: 'He who is near "Me is near the fire, he that is 
afar from Me is far from the Kingdom.* 

^ Cf. 2 Tim. ii. lo. 

» Cf. Phil. iv. 13. 

* Cf. 2 Tim. ii. 12 ; Gal. iv. 9. 

^ That is, by denying Christ's death and resurrection they deny 
I he Christian hope of immortality. 

* This need not refer to Judaistic teaching, but may equally well 
be said of any error which ignored the testimony of the prophets 
and the facts of the Lord's life. For the Christian attitude to Old 
Testament prophecy see Magn. 9, Philad. 5, 8, 9. 

' Their sufferings are a testimony to Christ's death and resur- 

® Cf. c. 4. Their view of Christ's death and resurrection leads 
them to think of Christ's martyrs as idle visionaries. 

* See note above on c. 2. According to their teaching the body 
which I hey bore about with them was already practically a corpse, 
since they had undermined the belief in the resurrection. 


VI. Let no man be deceived. Even the heavenly 
powers and the glory of the angels and the principalities 
both visible and invisible,^ except they believe in the 
blood of Christ [Who is God],^ have a judgment await- 
ing them. Let him that receiveih receive,^ Let not 
office puff up any man. For faith and love are every- 
thing, and there is nothing better than these. Mark 
those who hold strange doctrine with regard to the 
grace* of Jesus Christ, which came unto us, how 
opposed they are to the mind of God. They have no 
thought for love, nor for the widow,^ the orphan, the 
afflicted, the prisoner,® the hungry nor the thirsty. 
They withhold themselves from Eucharist ' and prayer, 
because they confess not® that the Eucharist is the 

^ Cf. Trail. 5 with notes. 

* The words in brackets are found apparently in two quotations 
of this passage in writers of the fifth and sixth centuries, but they 
are omitted l»y the Greek text and the Latin, Armenian, and 
Coptic versions. Against their genuineness is the fact that Ignatius 
never speaks of Christ as * God ' in this absolute way. See 
Introd. § 4. 

* Malt. xix. 12. 

* X<^pis, 'the gift of Christ's incarnation and pa«^si6n.' — Light- 

^ For the 'order' o. widows see I Tim. v. 9 and cf. Acts vi. 
I, ix. 41 ; see also Polyc. 4. From enrly times the Church 
organized with the greatest car^ her benevolent work. About 
250 A.I). Cornelius claimed that in the Church of Rome there 
were ' fifteen hundred widows and persons in distress, all of 
whom the grace and kindness of the MaNter nourish' (Euseb. /J.£. 

vi. 43)- 

* Cf. Ileb. X. 34.. The Greek text and the Latin version add 
after 'prisoner' the words 'or him that has been leleased.' But 
they nre probably spurious. 

' On the word * Eucharist ' see Philad. 4 note. By * abstaining 
from Euchari-it ' Ignatius means that they abstained from the 
authorized, public Eucharist of the Church. Non-.- of the Gnostic 
sects appear to have altogether ceased from holding Eucharistic 
feasts in their own assemblies. But according to Ignatius such 
Kucharists would not be regular or 'valid.' See c. 8. 

The prayer refers to the public prayer of the Church, especially 
that connected with the Eucharist. 

® The reali'y of Christ's humanity was denied by these heretics. 


flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which flesh suflered 
for our sins, and which in His loving-kindness the 
Father raised up. 

VII. So then they who speak against the gift of 
God ^ die by their disputing. It were better for them 
to exhibit love, that they may also rise again. Therefore 
it is fitting to withhold yourselves from such, and to 
say nothing either in private or in public about them, 
but rather to give heed unto the prophets,^ and espe- 
cially to the Gospel, wherein the passion is manifested 
to us and the resurrection is accomplished. 

VIII. Avoid divisions,^ as the beginning of evil. 
Follow, all of you, the bishop, as Jesus Christ followed 
the Father ; and follow the presbytery as the Apostles.* 
Moreover reverence the deacons as the commandment 
of God.^ Let no man do aught pertaining to the 
Church apart from the bishop. Let that eucharist be 
considered valid ^ which is under the bishop or him to 
whom he commits it. Wheresoever the bishop appears, 
there let the people be, even as wheresoever Christ 

Such denial involved a disbelief in the viitue of the Sacrament 
which was a means of communion with the divinely exalted 
humanity of Christ. Cf. the language of John vi. Similarly 
Irenoeus argues that the Gnostics are inconsistent in offering the 
Eucharistic gifts, holding such views as they do upon the human 
nature of Christ (Iren. iv. i8. 5). 

^ That is, the Incarnation and its issues, including a reference to 
the Eucharist. 

* Cf. above, c. 5, and Philad. 5, 9. 

' Ignatius here warns them against separatism, as above he has 
been wai ning them against hei esy. The Docetie were guilty of both. 

* Cf. antea, Magn. 6, 7, 13 ; Trail. 2, 3. 

^ /. e. *as the voice of God enjoining you.' — Lightfoot. 

* The word translated * valid ' {$€&aios) is found in Rom. iv. 16, 
Hel). ii. 2, ix. 17, and also in Ign. A^om, 3. It expresses the idea 
of security, and is use-l of the ratiHcation of a promise or the 
validity of a covenant. It is the opposite of which is pre- 
carious and insecure. Ignatius emphasizes the sacramental, no less 
than the doctrinal, unity of the Church. Cf. his language on the 
* one altar ' in Magn. 7, Phila'l. 4, and see Inlrod. § 4. 


Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church. ^ It is not lawful 
apart from the bishop either to baptize ^ or to hold 
a lovo-feast.^ But whatsoever he approves, that also is 

^ ' The bishop, argues Ignatius, is the centre of each individual 
Church, as Jesus Christ is the centre of the universal Church.' — 


This is the earliest occurrence in Christian literature of ihe 
phrase * the Catholic Church * {tj naBoXiK^ iKKK-naia). The original 
sense of the word is * universal.' Thus Justin Martyr {Dial. 82) 
speaks of the * universal or general resurrection,' using the words 
r\ KaOo\iK^ avdcrraais. Similarly here the Church universal is 
contrasted with the particular Church of Smyrna. Ignatius means 
by the Catholic Church * the aggregate of all the Christian congre- 
gations ' (Swete, Apostles^ I 'reed, p. 76). So too the letter of the 
Church of Smyrna is addressed * to all the congregations of the 
Holy Catholic Church in every place.' And this primitive sense 
of universal ' the word has never lost, although in the latter part 
of the second century it began to receive the secondary sense of 
'orthodox' as opposed to 'heretical.' Thus it is used in an early 
Canon of Scripture, the Muratorian fragment {circa 190-210 A.D. ), 
which refers to certain heretical writings as 'not received in the 
Catholic Church.' So too Cyril of Jerusalem, in the fourth century, 
says that the Church is called Catholic not only ' because it is 
spread throughout the world,' but also 'because it teaches com- 
pletely and without defect all the doctrines which ought to come 
to ihe knowledge of men.' This secondary sense arose out of the 
original meaning because Catholics claimed to teach the whole 
truth, and to represent the whole Church, while heresy arose out 
of the exaggeration of some one truth and was essentially partial 
and local. The use of the word in this passage by Ignatius has 
been urged as an indication of the late date of the epistles. But 
the fact that it is used in its primary sense is on the contrary an 
indication of early date. 

* Ignatius is writing at a time when the extent of a bishop's 
administration did not exceed that of a town parish at the present 
day, and when the clergy worked in much closer connection with 
him than is possible now. (See note, Rom. 2.) The principle 
underlying his statement, however, is the general necessity of due 
authorization of ministerial acts by the bishop. 

^ aydiriiv. The earliest use of the word in this sense is Jude 12 
(cf. 2 Pet. ii. 13, where brydirais is read by some MSS. in place of 
OTTaTais, ' deceivings'). The name was given to the social meals, 
in which the early Church sought to give expression to the unity 
and brotheily love of its members. There are analogies to the 
custom in Jewish life and in the club feasts of Greek and Roman life. 
The fact that our Lord instituted the Eucharist in connection with 
a common meal may explain the association of the two at Corinth 
in the time of St. Paul (i Cor. xi. 17 f.), though the name Agape 



well-pleasing to God, that everything which you do 
may be secure and valid. 

IX. It is reasonable that henceforth we should awake 
and live soberly,^ while we have opportunity to repent 
and turn to God. It is good to acknowledge God and 
the bishop. He that honours the bishop is honoured 
of God. He that does anything without the knowledge 
of the bishop serves the Devil. Let all things then 
abound unto you in grace, for you are worthy. In 

is not found in that passage. Some scholars have seen a similar 
combination of Eucharist and Agap^ in the Didachc (cc. ix, x), 
though others refer the account there given to the Eucharist alone, 
the A«;ape being mentioned in c. xi. 

Lighlfoot thinks that in the present passage Ignatius includes 
the Eucharist in the Agape, since he appears to describe the two 
most important functions in which a bishop could bear a part, and 
it is difficult to explain the omission of the Eucharist, if it is not 
included in the phrase. Hence he argues that in the lime of 
Ignatius the separation of the two had not yet taken place (see 
Introd. p. 1 8). Jiut this argument is weakened by the lact that 
the connection of the bishop with the Eucharist has already l)een 
sufficiently indicated in what precedes. In the almost contem- 
porary letter of Pliny to Trajan (c. 112.A.D.), after describing how 
the Christians met l)efore daylight and sang a hymn to Christ as 
God and lx)und themselves by an oath {sacramento) to live a strict 
life, the writer goes on: 'After this was done, their custom was 
to depart and meet again to take food, which was, however, quite 
ordinary and harmless.' In this description Lightfoot sees a refer- 
ence to the celebration of the Eucliarist {sacramenium may mean 
'oath* or 'sacrament') before daylight followed by a later meeting 
for the Agape, and he argues that in Bithynia the two were at this 
date distinct. But the early history of the Agape is involved in 
great obscurity, and the j^roblem of its connection with the Eucharist 
is the more difficult owing to the sacred character given to other 
meals than the Eucharist in early Christian times, and the fact 
that religious exerci es were associated with ihcm. See e.g. the 
description of an evening meal (whicii appears to have been an 
Agape) in TertuUian, Apology, c. 39, and the account of the 
Service of the Evening Lamp in the so-called Egyptian Church 
Order (attributed by some recent scholars to Hippolytus) in 
Horner, Statutes of the Apostles, pp. 188 f. On ihe whole question 
see Bishop Maclean, art. * Agape ' in Hastings' Encycl, of Religion 
afid Ethics. 

* Cf. 2 Tim. ii. 26. 


every way you have refreshed me, and Jesus Christ 
shall refresh you. Ahke in my absence and presence 
you have cherished me. May (>od reward you, and as 
you endure for His sake, so shall you attain unto Him. 

X. You did well in receiving as ministers of [Christ 
Who is] ^ God, Philo and Rhaius Agathopus, who 
accompanied me for the sake of God ; who also give 
thanks unto the Lord for you, because you refreshed 
them in every way. You shall surely lose nothing. 
My spirit devotes itself for you,^ as also my bonds 
which you did not scorn, and of which you were not 
ashamed. Nor shall He be ashamed of you. Who is 
perfect faithfulness, Jesus Christ. 

XI Your prayer has gone forth unto the Church 
which is at Antioch in Syria. From thence I come, 
bound with the godly adornment of these chains, and 
I salute you, not as though I am worthy to belong to 
that Church, since I am the very last among them. In 
accordance with the will of God I have been deemed 
worthy, not of my own conscious act, but by God's 
grace, which I pray may be given to me completely, 
that by your prayer I may attain unto God. In order 
the.i that your work may be made complete, on earth 
as well as in Heaven, it is fitting that your Church 
should appoint for the honour of God an ambassador 
of God,^ to visit Syria and congratulate them because 
they are at peace and have received again their proper 
stature,* and have had restored to them the proper 
measure of their body.^ It seemed then to me a 

^ Probably ihei-e words are corrupt. 

2 Cf. Polyc. 2 anl Eph. 21 (note). 

• Cf. Philad. 10, and the fuller account in Polyc. 7. 

•* The Church had been diminished by the eflects of persecution. 

*"' In this and in the preceding phrase the Church at Antioch is 
compared to a fully developed human body, which for a time had 
been attenuated by persecution. The word aufxartiovj translated 


worthy act for you to send some one of your number 
with a letter, to give glory with them for the calm 
which by God's appointment has set in for them, and 
because through your prayer they were now reaching 
the haven. Inasmuch as you are perfect, set your aims 
also on that which is perfect.^ For if you desire to act 
well, God is ready to aid you. 

XII. The love of the brethren who are at Troas 
salutes you. Hence also I am writing to you by the 
hand of Biirrhus,^ whom you sent in my company 
together with the Ephesians your brethren. In every- 
thing he has refreshed me. And I would that all 
imitated him, for he is a pattern of the ministry of God. 
The Divine grace shall wholly lequite him. I salute 
your godly bishop and revered presbytery, and my 
fellow-servants the deacons, and all of you both individu- 
ally and in common, in the name of Jesus Christ, and 
in His flesh and blood, in His Passion and Resurrection 
which was both of the flesh and spirit, in the unity ^ 
wherewith God binds you all. Grace, mercy, peace, 
patience be unto you always. 

XIII. I salute the households of my brethren with 
their wives and children, and the virgins who are called 
widows.* I bid you farewell in the power of the Father. 

*the measure of their body,' is found in Eusebius, H.E. x. 5 and 
in the Code of Justinian in ihe legal sense of 'a body corporate.' 

^ i. €. to fulfil the ' work ' referred to above. 

^ On the question whether this refers to the scribe or the bearer 
of the epistle see Rom. 10, Philad. 11 (notes). 

^ Notice how Ignatius sums up in this sentence the warnings 
contained in this epistle. The mention of the resurrection as being 
* of both flesh and spirit ' is an allusion to Docetic views. The 
mention of * unity ' is an allusion to the separatism of the heretics. 

^ There have l)een several interpretations of these words. The 
most convincing is that of Lighfoot. According to him the words 
refer to those women who, * though by name and in outward con- 
dition they are widows,' yet are here called virgins, because they 


Philo, my companion, salutes you. I salute the house- 
hold of Gavia, and pray that she may be established in 
faith and love both in flesh and spirit. I salute Alce,^ a 
name dear to me, and the excellent Daphnus and Eutec- 
nus and all by name. Farewell in the grace of God. 

are * such in God's sight by their purity and devotion.* There is an 
allusion to the order of widows, on which see note, c. 6. 

^ Cf. Polyc. 8, and also the letter of the Church of Smyrna, 
c. 17, where the same name is found. Both passages may refer to 
the same person. 


[This epistle was one of those which were written from Troas 
immediately before Ignatius and his guard set sail for Neapolis 
(c. 8), and probably accompanied the letter addressed to the 
Church at Smyrna. It is of a more personal character than any of 
the others, and reveals the affection entertained by Ignatius for 
Polycarp. Ignatius had stayed at Smyrna and had apparently 
received much kindness from its bishop, of whom he makes a 
grateful mention in the letters written from that city (Eph. 21, 
Magn. 15). 

Whether Ignatius had been acquainted with Polycarp before 
this visit it is difficult to say. The Antiochene Acts speak of 
Polycarp as the * fellow-student ' of Ignatius, and add, * for in old 
time ihey had been disciples of John ' (c. 3). But the tone of the 
present epistle certainly indicates that Polycarp was considerably 
the younger of the two, and was in fact a comparatively young 
man. The disparity of age would thus render improbable the 
statement of the Acts. On the other hand, when Ignatius expresses 
his gratitude that he has been permitted to see Polycarp (Polyc. i), 
this language is insufficient to justify us in assuming, as Pearson 
and Lightfoot do, that Ignatius had not seen him before his visit 
tp Smyrna. 

The epistle was undoubtedly intended to be read also by the 
members of the Church at Smyrna, as in c. 6 he addresses them 
and enjoins them to obey their bishop. In the more directly 
personal part of the epistle he gives advice to Polycarp with 
reference to the various responsibilities of his office and his own 
personal conduct. He gives full instructions as to the choice of a 
delegate to represent the Church of Smyrna at Antioch, and makes 
a passing allusion to heresy. See c. 3.] 

Ignatius, who is also Theophorus, to Polycarp, who 
is bishop of the Church in Smyrna, or rather, who has 
God the Father and Jesus Christ for his bishop,^ 
abundant greeting. 

I. I welcome your godly purpose which is firmly 
planted as on an immovable rock, and I render ex- 

^ Cf. Magn. 3 ; Rom. 9 (notes). 


ceeding glory that I have been granted the sight o 
your blameless face— may I have joy of it in pod. I 
urge you in the grace wherewith you are clothed to 
press on in your race, and to urge all men to be saved. 
Assert your office with all diligence of flesh and spirit.^ 
Give heed unto union, for there is nothing better. Bear 
all men, as the Lord also bears you.^ Suffer all men in 
love, as indeed you do suffer them. Devote yourself to 
unceasing prayer?. Ask for greater understanding than 
you have. Be watchful, possessing a wakeful spirit. 
Speak to each man individually after God's way.^ Bear 
the infirmities of all men, as a perfect athlete.* Where 
there is more toil there is greater gain. 

n. If you love good disciples, this does not win you 
favour.^ Rather subdue by meekness the more pestilent. 
Not every wound is cured by the same salve. Ease 
sharp pains by fomentations. Become prudent as the 
serpent in all things^ and harmless continually as the dove.^ 
Therefore you aie of flesh and spirit, that you may 
humour the things which are visibly present before 
your face.' But ask that the things which are unseen 

* Polycarp is urged to make ihe power and influence of his office 
felt by an attentive discharge of all its duties. 

* For the idea of this passage cf. Gal. vi. 2. The latter part of 
the sentence is probably taken from Is. liii. 4, following ihe version 
given in Matt. viii. 17, which differs from the LXX rendering. 
The influen«.e of the same passage is also to be noticed a few lines 
below, where Ignatius says : * Bear the infirmities of ail men.' 

* i. e. in conformity with the character of God as revealed in 
the principles on . which He acts. Cf. Matt. v. 45 ff. , which 
probably suggested this passage. 

* Cf. for the figure 2 Tim. ii. 5 and Heb. x 32. In later times 
the word 'athlete ' became a common synonym lor a martyr. 

' The spirit of this passage resembles that of Luke vi. 32 and 
I Pet. ii. 18. 

* A reference to Matt. x. 16. 

' By * the things visibly present before your face ' Ignatius means 
* the visible, material world.* This world is to be * humoured * into 
ol^edience to God. The two elements of man's nature, flesh and 
spirit, render it possible for him to act as a mediator between the 


may be manifested to you, that you may lack nothing 
and mav abound in every gift. The season demands 
you, as pilots demand winds and the tempest- tossed 
man demands the haven, so as to attain unto God.^ 
Be temperate, as God's athlete. The prize is incorrup- 
tion and life eternal, concerning which also you have 
been persuaded. In all things I devote myself for you, 
even I and my bonds which you have cherished.^ 

III. Let not those who seem to be specious and yet 
bring novel teaching dismay you. Stand firm as an 
anvil when it is smitten. It is the part of a great 
athlete to suffer blows and to conquer. And above all 
for God's sake we ought to endure all things, that He 
also may endure us. Become more zealous than you 
are. Consider the sca«^ons.^ Look for Him Who is 
above all seasons. Who is timeless, invisible, made 
visible for our sakes, Who is beyond the touch of our 
hands, beyond suffering, Who yet suffered for us. Who 
in every way endured for us. 

IV. Let not widows be neglected.* Next to the Lord 

material and the spiritual world. The passage expresses in a 
somewhat homely way a truth which recalls the great sayinj; of 
St. Paul, ' I am made all things to all men.' 

^ The text here is probably in some confusion. The reading 
translated above represents the crisis as the pilot and Polycarp as 
ihc breeze, which gives an unnatural sense. Lightfoot suggests an 
emendation of the text which would yield the translation: 'The 
season demands you, as a ship demands a pilot, and as a tempest- 
tossed mariner the haven.* The metaphor of a ship to denote the 
Church is frequently found in Inter Christian writers. The ahiidged 
Syriac version contains a reading in this passage which indicates 
the presence of the word 'ship' in the text. 

^ Or, as Zahn would translate it here, following Bunsen, 
' kissed,' referring to a practice alluded to by TertuUian and the 
Acts of Paul and Thecla. But, though ayairav is used of external 
demonstrations of affection, there seems no authority for this precise 

^ Cf. Matt. xvi. 3 ; Luke xii. 56. 

* Sec note on Smyrn. 6. 


be yourself their guardian.^ Let nothing be done with- 
out your approval, neither yourself do anything without 
God's ai)proval, as indeed you do not. Be firm. Let 
assemblies ^ be held more often. Search out all men 
by name. Treat not disdainfully bondmen or bond- 
women, yet neither let them be puffed up, but let them 
serve the more^ to the glory of God, that they may 
obtain from God a better freedom. Let them not desire 
to gain their freedom out of the common fund,* that 
they may not be found the slaves of lust. 

V Flee evil arts,^ or rather discourse upon theni.^ 
Charge my sisters to love the Lord and to be satisfied 
with their husbands in flesh and spirit. Likewise charge 
my brethren in the name of Jesus Christ to love their 
wives, iven as the Lord loved the Church? If any one is 
able to abide in i)urity ® to the honour of the flesh, 

* Or ' trustee,' *a semi- official term.' — Lightfoot. 

^ <ruva7«7af, lit. 'synagogues,' a name derived from Jewish 
usage and applied in the N. T. to the meetings for worship held 
by Jewish Christians. See James ii. 2. Here, however, it is used 
quite generally. For the duty here enforced see Heb. x. 25. 

* Cf. I Tim. vi. 2. 

* For this custom of the early Church cf. the Apostolic Con- 
stitutions iv. 9, where the ransom of slaves is included among the 
objects to which the Church alms may be devoted. 

^ Various interpretations have been given of this warninij. Some 
have seen in these * evil arts ' a reference to the * black arts ' 01 
witchcraft, sorcery, etc. which we know to have been common in 
these regions. See Acts xix. 19. Others, as Zahn, take the phrase 
more generally to denote nil improper ways of taming a living. 
Zahn rightly urges that it would be an easy transition for the writer, 
after speaking of slaves, to pass 011 to the other elements of life to 
be found in the great cities of the day, tlie disreputable callings of 
actors, mountebanks, wizards, etc. 

* Polycarp is urged to warn his hearers against the dangers 
alluded to by 'holding discourse' upon them, i.e. by making 
mention of them in his sermons in the Christian assemblies. 

■^ An echo of Eph. v. 25. 

^ The word for * purity,' ayvc/a, is used here in the strictest sense 
to denote ' virginal chastity.* In the second and third centuries 
there grew up within the Church a widespread feeling upon this 
subject, which led many both married and unmarried to devote 


which is the Lord's ^ let him abide therein without 
boasting. If he boast, he has perished. And if it be 
known further than the bishop,^ he is corrupted. It is 
fitting that those who marry, both men and women, 
should enter into the union with the approval of the 
bishop, that the marriage may be according to the Lord 
and not according to lust. Let all things be done to the 
honour of God. 

VI. Give heed ^ unto the bishop, that God also may 
give heed unto you. I devote myself for those who 
submit to the bishop, presbyters, deacons. May it be 
mine to have my portion along with them in the presence 
of God. Share one another's toil,* contend together, 
run together, suffer together, alike in rest and rising 
be together, as stewards ^ and assessors and ministers of 
God. Please Him under Whom you serve,^ from Whom 
also you shall receive your pay. Let none of you be 

themselves to perpetual chastity. The starting-point for such a 
view was probably the words of St. Paul, i Cor. vii. i ff. 

.^ Cf. I Cor. vi. 15 sq. The words are especially applicable to 
th )se spoken of here. 

* Those who devote themselves to perpetual chastity are to make 
known their vow to the bishop, but to no one else. To parade 
their virtue would be an act of immodesty. Others, however, as 
Zahn, would translate here * if he become better known than the 
bishop,* i. e. if his chastity win him greater fame than the bishop, 
supposing the latter to be married. 

' At this point Ignatius turns to the members of the Church of 
Smyrna. In the whole of this and the following chapter he is 
addressing them. 

* The phrase alludes to the hard course of training which athletes 
underwent. Cf Phil. ii. 16 ; Col. i. 29 ; i Tim. iv. 10. The 
following passage continues the mttaphor, and the words * rest * and 
'rising* refer to the hours of sleep and rising appointed by the 

* The word * stewards' is used here of Christians generally. Cf. 
I Pet. iv. 10. The following word * assessors ' is a strong expression 
of the idea found in i Cor. iii. 9. 

* Cf. 2 Tim. ii. 4. 


found a deserter.^ Let your baptism abide as your shield,^ 
your faith as your helmet, your love as your spear 
your patience as body-armour. Let your works be your 
deposit,^ that you may receive the sums credited to you 
as your due. So then be long-suffering with one another 
in meekness as God is with you. May I have joy of 
you continually. 

VIL Since the Church which is at Antioch in Syria 
enjoys peace * through your prayer, as I have been in- 
formed, I also have been more greatly cheered, and God 
has set my mind at rest ; if haply I may through suffer- 
ing attain unto God, so that I may be found, through 
your entreaty, a disciple.^ It is meet, most blessed 
Polycarp, that you should assemble a godly council and 
appoint* some one of your number, who is greatly 

* The word used here is the Latin word * desertor ' ; similarly 
below the words translated * deposit ' and * sums accredited to you ' 
are Latin words. The presence with Ignatius of an escort of 
Roman soldiers helps to explain the use of such words, and also the 
repeated reference to the details of a soldier's life and equipment. 

^ /. e. your baptism into the privileges and ble-sings of the 
Christian life will be found your best defence ag.iinst sin. The 
metaphor in this passage was undoubttdly suggested by Eph. vi. 
13-17, though it is worked out differently. 

' Zahn compares for the general sentiment here Matt. vi. 20, xix 
21 ; Tobit iv. 8, 9. The metaphor is derived from the savings-bank 
attached to the cohorts of the Roman legions. The sums accumu- 
lated in this way were paid over to soldiers at their discharge, 
l^eserters forfeited their savings. 

^ Cf. Philad. 10, with note. 

* In the Greek there is a play of words which may have been 
intended to recall, as Lightfoot suggests, a Greek proverb, irod^/iOTo 
fiad-fifiara, 'suffering brings wisdom.' There is, however, some 
doubt about the text in this passage. Another reading, supported 
by some MSS. and adopted by Zahn, would yield the translation, 
* so that I may be found at the resurrection your disciple.' Then 
the contrast would be between * suffering* and * resurrection.' The 
expression * your disciple ' would find a parallel in Eph. 3, where 
his readers are spoken of as his trainers for the athletic contest. 

* Cf. Smyrn. ii, where the messenger is called * God's ambas- 


beloved and full of zeal, that he may bear the name of 
God's messenger : — it is meet, I say, that you should 
commission him to go to Syria and glorify your untiring 
love to the glory of God.^ A Christian has not power 
over himself, but devotes his time to God. For this is 
God's work and yours, when you have completed it. For 
I trust in God's grace that you are prepared to do a 
good work which is meet for God. I have exhorted 
you in a brief letter, because I know how earnest is your 

VIII. Seeing that I could not write unto all the 
churches, because I sail immediately from Troas to 
Neapolis,^ as God's will commands, you shall write to 
the churches which lie in front,^ as yourself possessing 
the mind of God, to bid them also do the same thing. 
Let those who can send messengers, the rest letters by 
the hands of the messengers whom you send, that you 
may be glorified, as you are worthy to be, by a work that 
will live for ever. 

I salute all by name, as also the wife of Epitropus,* 
with all her household and her children's. I salute 
Attalus my beloved. I salute him who is to be com- 
missioned to go to Syria. God's grace shall be with 
him continually, and with Polycarp who sends him. I 
bid you farewell continually in our God, Jesus Christ, fn 

* The purpose of this mission is more fully stated Philad. lo ; 
Smjrn. ii. 

^ For Neapolis see Acts xvi. ii. It was the port of Philippi. 
From Philippi Ignatius would travel along the Via Egnalia to 
Dyrrhachium and thence by sea to Italy. 

* t. e. nearer to Syria. 

* Lightfoot thinks the passage may be translated * the widow of 
the procurator.' His reasons are — (i) there is no mention of the 
husi and in the following salutation ; (2) the word * Epiiropus' may 
possibly be, not a proper name, but the title of an ofHce, as 
inscriptions found at Smyrna mention an officer called iTfirpoiros 


Whom abide in the unity and under the governance ^ of 
God. I salute Alee, a name dear to me. Farewell in 
the Lord. 

^ The word here is ^iricr/coir^, the title of the bishop's office. Cf. 
the opening words of the epistle, where Polycarp is said to have 
God as his bishop. 





All the epistles, with the exception of those to the 
Romans and to Polycarp, contain warnings against heresy. 
In the epistles to the Magnesians and Philadelphians 
Ignatius deals with a Judaistic error, which showed itself 
in a return to the ceremonialism of the Jewish I^w and 
in a setting up of the authority of the Old Testament 
against the Gospel (Magn. 8, 9, 10; Philad. 6, 8, 9). 
The epistle to the Philadelphians exhibits the more de- 
veloped form of this tendency. In the epistles to the 
Trallians and Smyrnaeans Ignatius opposes a Docetic 
error which denied the reality of the birth, death, and 
resurrection of Jesus Christ, and maintained that our 
Lord's body was a mere phantom. Cf. esp. Trail. 9, 10 ; 
Smyrn. i, 2, 3. We see the more developed form of this 
tendency in the epistle to the Smymaeans. In both 
cases the false teaching had led finally to schism (Philad. 
2, 3, 7 ; Smyrn. 6, 8, 9). From some references to Doce- 
tism in the epistles to the Magnesians and Philadelphians 
(Magn. 8, 9, 11 ; Philad. inscr., 3 (end), 4, 5) Lightfoot 
assumes that the two errors co-existed in some form of 
Docetic Judaism, which Ignatius attacks from different 
sides in the different epistles. This is also the view of 
Lipsius and Zahn, but it has been challenged by Hort 
{Judaistic Christianity^ pp. 181- 187) and Harnack {Ex- 
positor^ March 1886, and C/irono/ogie, pp. 389 «., 393). 
An intermediate view is held by Von der Goltz, 7'exte 
u. Unters.^ Bd, xii. 3. 

There are no references to Judaism in the epistles to 



the Ephesians, Trallians, and Smyrnaeans (unless we re- 
gard as such the references to the prophets and the law 
of Moses in Smyrn. 5, 7). There the error is simply 
Docetic. The reference in Magn. 8 to 'strange doc- 
trines * and * ancient fables ' probably refers to Rabbinical 
fables rather than to Gnostic myths (see notes on the 
passage). In Magn. 9 and Philad. inscr. there are appar- 
ently references to Docetism. In the former of the two 
passages, after speaking of * our life ' as having * its rising 
through Him and His death,' Ignatius adds a parenthe- 
tical clause beginning, * which fact some deny.' The 
parenthesis, however, forms no part of his argument. In 
the second passage Ignatius speaks of the Philadelphian 
Church as * rejoicing in the passion of our Lord and in 
His resurrection,' where his language may contain, as 
Lightfoot thinks, an allusion to the Docetic denial of the 
Passion. But in any case neither passage contains more 
than an incidental reference to errors which were promi- 
nent in the writer's thoughts at the tftne. In Magn. 11, 
after the conclusion of the attack on the Judaistic teachers 
contained in cc. 8-10, Ignatius bids them *be fully con- 
vinced of the birth and passion and resurrection, which 
came to pass in the time of the government of Pontius 
Pilate — events which truly and certainly were brought to 
pass by Jesus Christ' But the words do not necessarily 
form a part of the attack contained in cc. 8-10. Ignatius 
may be merely thinking of the dangers to which other 
churches .were exposed, and warning the Magnesians 
beforehand against them. But the most valuable piece 
of evidence is the epistle to the Philadelphians. Ignatius 
had visited this Church, and in addressing it he plainly 
refers to actually existing errors, of which he had personal 
experience. Here, if anywhere, we might expect to find 
traces of a mixture of Judaism and Docetism. Yet 
besides the passage which we have already quoted the 
only passages appealed to by Lightfoot are cc. 3 
(end), 4, 5. 

In the first of these Ignatius says, * If any man walks 
in strange opinions, he has no part in the Passion.' In 
the second he bids them partake of one Eucharist, as 


there is one flesh of Christ. Both these passages may 
quite easily refer to the separatist tendencies of heresy 
generally, as cutting men off from the unity of the 
Church and the benefits^ of the Passion of Christ. In 
c. 5 Ignatius speaks of himself as * taking refuge in the 
Gospel as the flesh of Jesus.' Here again the allusion 
is too slight to convey any distinct controversial sense. 
Had Ignatius been confronted with a form of heresy 
which combined Judaic and Docetic features, it is 
difficult to believe that his language would have been 
so vague and indirect. 

Thus the language of the epistles does not require us 
to suppose that a form of Docetic Judaism was generally 
current in the churches. Both Docetic and Judaistic 
influences were undoubtedly present to the mind of 
Ignatius when he wrote his epistles. But whether in 
any particular church the one or the other, or both in 
combination, wer^ fouud, depends upon the internal 
evidence of each epistle. From what we know of the 
foreign influences which had invaded the Jews of the 
Dispersion in the first and second centuries, it is not 
a priori unlikely that such a combination might exist, 
but it would require much stronger language than that 
of the passages Magn. 9, n ; Philad. 3, 8 ; Smyrn. 5, 7, to 
demonstrate its presence in the three churches addressed 
in those epistles. It is only natural to suppose that the 
memory of the dangers arising from both forms of error 
would colour the thought and language of Ignatius at 
the time, even when he was writing to churches not 
directly in danger. The remaining epistles show no 
trace of a combination of the two errors. 

The Docetic heresy arose out of the oriental mystical 
spirit, which found a difficulty in believing in the con- 
tact of the Supreme God with matter. There are traces 
of a similar heresy in the false teaching alluded to in 
I John iv. 3, 2 John 7, and in Polycarp's epistle to 
the Philippians (c. 7). The Johannine epistles, how- 
ever, probably have in view the teaching of Cerin- 
thus, which was not properly Docetic. The Docetism 
attacked in the present epistles was * thorough-going. 


It was applied to the whole earthly life of our Lord 
from the Birth to the Resurrection. 

This is a sign of early date, as Docetism tended to 
become modified as time went on. This * thorough- 
going' Docetism finds a parallel in the teaching of 
Saturnilus, who was a contemporary and fellow-citizen 
of Ignatius. I'he epistles contain no traces of the 
features of the later Gnostic systems of Valentinus, 
Basilides, and Marcion. 

The Jewish or Ebionite heresy was a development of 
the Pharisaic Judaism, of which we see the beginnings 
in the teaching attacked by St. Paul in the Epistle to 
the Galatians. It appears, however, that circumcision 
was no longer insisted on, for in Philad. 6 we read, 
* It is better to hear Christianity from one who is cir- 
cumcised, than to hear Judaism from an uncircumcised 
man.' This is in accordance with what we know of the 
later development of this heresy. 

Both forms of heresy were dishonouring to the Person 
of Christ. Docetism denied the reality of His Manhood. 
Ebionism started from an imperfect conception of His 
Person, and ended by denying His Divinity. Both alike 
found a stumbling-block in the Passion, with its teach- 
ing of a Divine sufferer and a crucified Messiah. Both 
heresies in their developed form (see above) resulted in 
separatism, and gave occasion to an emphatic assertion 
by Ignatius of the unity of the Church. 


The statement in the Introduction, § iv. pp. 32 f., that 
in the New Testament and the early sub-apostolic writers 
the words * bishop ' and * presbyter ' are applied to the 
same person represents a fact which did not escape the 
notice of Church writers in ancient times. One attempt 
to explain the transfer of the name * bishop' to the 
single monarchical ruler of the Ignatian epistles and 



later times is that of Theodore of Mopsuestia in the 
fifth century. According to this writer the Church 
officers who are now called bishops were formerly 
called apostles, and ruled not single churches, but 
whole provinces. He represents St. Paul as appointing 
Timothy to rule the province of Asia and Titus to rule 
over Crete. But when the original Apostles passed 
away, their successors, recognizing that they fell far 
short of them in the character of their gifts and in 
other ways, shrank from retaining the name * apostle,' 
and chose instead the name of * bishop,' reserving the 
word * presbyter ' to the inferior office which now bears 
that name. As bishops were multii^lied, not only were 
they appointed to particular towns and provinces, but 
each locality came to have its own bishop.^ This theory 
is criticized by Bishop Lightfoot {Phiiippians, p. 195 f.) 
The Apostles, whether we use the term of the Twelve 
and St. Paul, or in the wider sense of the original 
founders of Churches, held no localized office. They 
were missionaries and moved about from place to place. 
Moreover the statement of Theodore that episcopacy 
spread from the provincial area to the smaller localities 
is not borne out by facts. The epistles of Ignatius 
prove the contrary, and show that the bishop's office 
was not in any sense * diocesan.' The germ of truth 
contained in Theodore's statement is the fact that the 
missionary Apostles of the first days exercised a general 
supervision over the churches Which they founded, and 
that the supreme power of this general and itinerant 
ministry came eventually into the hands of the single 
* bishop ' who belonged to the local ministry .^ 

In modern times discussion has largely turned on the 
relationship between this general ministry of the first 
Apostles and the local ministry of presbyters (or pres- 
byter-bishops) and deacons which preceded the threefold 
ministry as we see it in Ignatius. 

Bishop Lightfoot in his essay on *The Christian 
Ministry' {Phiiippians, pp. 181 f.) starts with the repre- 

* Theodore Mops., Comm. in i Tim. iii. 8. 

* Cf. Turner, Camb. Mediarval History, 1. 145. 


sentation in Acts of the Twelve as the * sole directors and 
administrators of the Church/ Owing to the increasing 
burden of work, the less important functions were soon 
delegated to others. First came the appointment of the 
Seven (Acts vi.) in whose office he sees a correspondence 
with the later diaconate, though the name * deacon ' is 
not used^). The. next stage, the appearance of the office 
of presbyters, first comes to light (Acts xi. 30) in close 
connection with the persecution of Herod, which appears 
to have led to the dispersion of the Twelve. Hence- 
forth we read of presbyters as directing the affairs of 
the Church at Jerusalem. The office may have been 
created on the analogy of the * elders' of the Jewish 
synagogue. But, once created, it extended to other 
regions, and Paul and Barnabas are represented on 
their first missionary journey as establishing presbyters 
in the churches which they founded (Acts xiv. 23). 
The term * bishop' first appears in connection with 
Gentile Churches, and then as a synonym for * presbyter.' 
Whether it was adopted from the analogy of the similar 
title applied to the directors of Greek religious and 
social clubs (as Dr. Hatch supposed) cannot be deter- 
mined. But the name is applied in one passage (Acts 
XX. 28) to those who have previously been spoken of as 
'presbyters' (the 'elders' of Ephesus, see v, 17), while 
elsewhere (Phil. i. i) 'bishops' are spoken of, along 
with 'deacons,' in a way that suggests that presbyters 
are referred to. Similarly in the Pastoral Epistles Light- 
foot urges that the same identification is to be made 
(see Tit. i. 5, 7 ; i Tim. iii. 1-7). Presbyters appear in 
I Pet. V. 5 and also in James v. 14. The same termi- 
nology appears when we pass outside the New Testa- 
ment to the sub-apostolic period. In Clement of Rome 
and the Didache we read of 'bishops and deacons' 
(Clement, ad Cor. 42, Didache 15) — though the former 
uses ' bishop ' and ' presbyter ' as convertible terms 
(cp. ad Cor, 44) — and in Polycarp [ad Philipp, 5, 6) 
'presbyters and deacons.' On the strength of this 

^ The words SiaKovciv and 8xaKov(a (* serve,' 'ministration') are, 
however, used in this connection. See Acts vi. i, 2. 


evidence Lightfoot holds that the local churches were 
under the direction of presbyter-bishops, whose function 
was to rule and teach, and that the monarchical epis- 
copate was developed out of this subordinate office. 
In tlje position of St. James at Jerusalem (see esp. 
Acts xxi. i8, cf. Introd. p. 33) he sees the pattern 
and precedent of this later development; and in the 
activity of St. John at Ephesus, according to the tradi- 
tion preserved by Clement of Alexandria and Tertullinn 
(see note on Trail. 7), he would see one of the main 
agencies in extending an organization which had been 
adopted in the mother church of Jerusalem. 

The discovery of the Didache (or Teaching of the 
Twelve Apostks), published by Bryennios in 1883, 
subsequent to the appearance of Lightfoot's essay, led 
to a fresh review of the history of the ministry. In this 
work, side by side with the local ministry of * bishops 
and deacons,* we find itinerant apostles, prophets, and 
teachers, who visit the churches. The apostle is to be 
received as the Lord, but may not stay more than three 
days. Provision is made for prophets and teachers who 
wish to settle down in the community. The prophet 
when speaking in the spirit is to be above criticism. 
He is allowed to use extempore prayer when * giving 
thanks,' and first-fruits are to be assigned to him, for, 
says the writer, *they (the prophets) are your high- 
priests ' At the same time bishops and deacons, whom 
they are bidden to elect for themselves, are not to be 
despised, but are to be held in honour along with the 
prophets and teachers, whose ministry they also exercise. 
In this itinerant ministry of apostles, prophets, and 
teachers Harnack ^ sees a survival of an earlier teaching 
ministry, which owed its position, not to appointment 
by the Church, but to a special gift of inspiration, which 
enabled its possessors to * speak the word of God,' and 
he contrasts this earlier * charismatic ' ^ ministry, to 

^ See Prolegomena to edition of />/V/ar//<~ in Texte u. Untersuch- 
unij^en (1884), and Constitution and Law of the Church in the first 
two centuries (E. tr. 19 10). 

^ This use of the term * charismatic ' is criticized by Dean 


which he attributes the most important influence in the 
direction of the early church, with the purely adminis- 
trative local ministry of presbyters (or bishops) and 
deacons, who derived their appointment from the com- 
munity. As the older charismatic ministry declined or 
fell into disrepute (the Z^z^^/^i^^ contains warnings against 
* false i^rophets '), the local ministry stepped into its place 
and exercised many of its functions. This theory has 
recently been discussed by the Dean of Wells (Dr. 
Armitage Robinson) in the volume of essays on The 
Early History of the Church and Ministry (pp. 59 ff.). 
He criticizes Harnack for reading back into the New 
Testament the conditions implied in the Didache, and 
for the use which he makes in support of his theory of 
such passages as i Cor. xii. 28, Eph. iv. 11 (which 
refer to functions rather than offices), and he denies that 
prophets and teachers in the New Testament stand out 
(along with apostles) as a definite official class, superior 
to the local presbyters, and exercising a ministry to the 
universal church. The conditions in the Didache, on 
the contrary, point to a stage at which the gift of 
prophecy, which in the Acts and Epistles is represented 
as a personal endowment, has become the badge of a 
professional class, with the attendant dangers of self- 
exaltation and deception. With Lightfoot it is reason 
able to see in the * helps ' and * governments ' of i Cor. 
xii. 28, and the * pastors and teachers' of Eph. iv. 11, 
an allusion to the permanent ministry of the Church, 
even thougii this is overshadowed by the more con- 
spicuous gifts which were needed for the conversion 
of unbelievers and the founding of churches. These 
hunibler offices had, too, their own charisma, or gift of 
the Holy Spirit, as we see from Acts xx. 28 and the 
language of the Pastoral Epistles (i Tim. iv. 14 ; 
2 Tim. i. 6). 

Later discussions have somewhat modified Lightfool's 
statement that the terms * presbyter ' and * bishop ' wTre 

Robinson, Essays on Early History of Church and Ministry ^ edilCvl 
by Dr. Swete (191 8). 


synonymous. l)r. Hort {Christian Ecclesia^ pp. 190 ff.) 
maintained that the word * bishop' was not a mere 
synonym, but denoted a function exercised by the 
presbyter — the function of * oversight.' More recent 
scholars ^ have maintained a distinction between the 
presbyter and the * bishop.' According to this view the 
word * elders' (* presbyters ') is used in our early sources 
in a more general and in a more particular sense. On 
the one hand, there is a wider class of * elders ' who are 
contrasted with the younger members of the community 
( 1 Tim. V. I ; I Pet. v. 5 ; cf. Tit. ii. 2-6). On the other 
hand, there are * elders' who rule (i Tim. v. 17), and 
who are probably to be identified with the 'rulers' of 
Rom. xii. 28, i Thess. v. 12, Heb. xiii. 7. These latter 
have an official status ; and they are appointed (cf. Acts 
xiv. 23, Tit. i. 5, Clement of Rome, ad Cor, 54). In 
the Church of Jerusalem they appear to have acted as 
an advisory and ruling council (Acts xi. 30, xv. 4, xxi. 18). 
Some of them at least exercised pastoral duties (i Pet. 
V. 2) and were occupied in the ministry of the word and 
teaching (i Tim. v. 17 ; Heb. xiii. 7). These facts 
explain their position in the Ignatian epistles, where 
they appear as a * council ' associated with the bishop. 

According to this view * bishops ' would be selected 
from, and appointed by, the official presbyters to execute 
certain functions. The evidence of our sources suggests 
that these functions were threefold: (i) the representa- 
tion of the local church in its external relations with other 
churches. Of this we have an illustration in the position 
occupied by Clement of Rome, who writes to the 
Corinthians to protest against the wrongful dismissal of 
some presbyters as a violation of church order. Similarly 
Her mas ( Vis. ii. 4) is instructed to send one copy of his 
book to Clement, who is to * send it to the foreign cities, 
for this is his duty.' 

(2) Closely connected with the previous function is the 
administration of the finances of the Church. This 
would be necessary in view of the duty of providing 

' See, e.g.^ Bernard, Pastoral Epp. pp. Ivi fF. ; Ilarnack, Consti- 
tution and Law of the Church, pp. 67 f., 69 f. 


hospitality for those who came from other churches, and 
of supervising the charities of the Church. Hence we 
find the injunction that the bishop be * given to hospi- 
tality' (i Tim. iii. 2; Tit. i. 8), while in Justin {Ap. i. 
67) the money collected for orphans and widows is to 
be deposited with * the president.' 

(3) Lastly, there is the connection of the bishop with 
the worship of the Church, centring in the celebra- 
tion of the Eucharist. Thus in the DidacJie (c. 15) the 
election of * bishops and deacons ' is referred to in con- 
nexion with the Eucharist, and in Clement of Rome 
(c. 44) the * offering of the gifts ' (/. e. in the Eucharist) 
is spoken of as a function of the bishop's office (cf. 
Ignatius, Smyrn. 8). 

In the matters of finance and worship we find the 
deacons closely associated with the * bishop,' and similar 
qualifications are required of them both (cf. i Tim. iii. 
3, 8 ; Didache 15). Deacons are closely associated with 
the * president ' in Justin's account of the Eucharist 
{Ap, i. 65, 67). The position of the Seven in Acts vi. 
1-6 is an early indication of a similar function with 
regard to finance. 

According to this view, while all bishops would be 
presbyters, all presbyters would not necessarily be 
bishops, as the latter, though chosen from the former, 
had functions of their own, though we cannot always 
sharply distinguish between the duties fulfilled by each. 
Teaching and the ministry of the word are asigned to 
both presbyters and bishops (i Tim. v. 17 ; i Tim. iii. 2) ; 
in the Didache (c. 15) bishops and deacons are said to 
* minister the ministry of prophets and teachers ' ; and 
Hermas i^Vis. iii. 5) similarly connects bishops and 
deacons with apostles and teachers. 

The distinction between bishops and presbyters which 
has been drawn above does not, however, alter the fact 
that there were several * bishops ' in each local church. 
The stages by which the single bishop came to be 
supreme in the local church are hidden from us. The 
development was not uniform in all churches. When 
the Apostles, who had exercised a general supervision 


over the churches founded by them passed away, the 
colleges of ruling presbyters established by them in the 
various churches would feel the need of a president, 
who could act as an executive official, as the presiding 
minister at the Eucharist, and as the representative of 
the church in its external relations. 

Ignatius nowhere speaks of the bishops as * succeeding 
to ' the Apostles. The idea, however, of a * succession ' 
in the ministry and the belief that the Apostles had 
provided for it are found in Clement of Rome {ad Cor. 
44).^ Ignatius, on the other hand, emphasizes the 
importance of the bishop as the centre of unity in the 
local church (Smyrn. 8), while the unity of the church 
universal finds its organ of expression in *the bishops 
established in the furthest quarters,' who are *in the 
mind of Jesus Christ,' as Jesus Christ is *the Mind of 
the Father ' (Eph. 3). 

Thus the local ministry, established in the first 
instance by the missionary apostles of early days, though 
obscured for a time by the more striking and exceptional 
endowments of missionary prophets and teachers, when 
these had passed away, gathered into itself the perma- 
nent powers of the apostolate, and in the episcopate 
provided the Church with an organ for the expression 
of the unity of the whole. 



The story of the martyrdom of Ignatius is current in 
five diffierent forms. 

1 . The Antiochene Acts, current in Greek, Latin, and 

2. The Roman Acts, current in Greek and Coptic. 

3. The Bollandist Acts (Latin), 

4. The Armenian Acts. 

5 The Acts of Symeon the Metaphrast (Greek). 

^ On the history of the idea of ' apostolic succession ' see the 
essay by C. H. Turner in Essnys on the Early History of the Church 
and Ministry (edited by Dr. Swete), pp. 95 ff. 


Of these the last three forms show their dependence 
upon (i)and (2), the narratives of which they combine 
in various ways. On the other hand the Antiochene 
and Roman Acts are plainly independent. Hence our 
attention may be confined to them. 

The Roma ft Acts are the longer of the two forms, and 
exhibit a more developed legendary character than we 
find in the Antiochene Acts. According to the account 
which they contain, the trial before Trajan took place at 
Rome in the presence of the Senate. A long dialogue 
ensues between Trajan and Ignatius, in which the 
Senate occasionally intervenes. Trajan at first makes 
overtures to his prisoner and promises to appoint him 
high-priest of Zeus and give him a share in his kingdom, 
if he will abjure Christianity and sacrifice to the gods. 
As this proves unavailing, he threatens him with various 
forms of torture. On his part Ignatius heaps ridicule on 
the heathen gods and vindicates Christianity. After 
torture has proved unavailing, Trajan orders him to be 
left in prison without food for three days and then to be 
cast to the wild beasts. On the third day Trajan, 
attended by the Senate and the prefect, proceeds to the 
amphitheatre, where a great concourse is assembled. 
The endurance of the martyr excites the Emperor's 
wonder, and as he is still obdurate, the final sentence is 
carried out, and the wild beasts are let loose upon him 
The beasts, however, only crushed him to death, with- 
out touching his flesh, * so that his reliques might be a 
means of protection to the great city of the Romans, in 
which Peter also was crucified and Paul was beheaded 
and Onesimus was perfected ' (c. 10). 

Trajan is amazed at the circumstances of the martyr's 
death, and receiving about the same time letters from 
Pliny the governor with reference to the Christians, he 
issues a decree ordering that the Christians should not 
be sought out, but only punished when found. At the 
same time he permits the burial of the martyr's reliques. 
* Then,' we read, * the brethren in Rome, to whom also 
he had sent word that they should not sue for his 
deliverance from martyrdom and so rob him of the hope 


which he cherished, took his body and laid it where it 
was possible for them to gather together and praise God 
and His Christ for the perfecting of the holy bishop 
and martyr Ignatius. For " the memory of the righte- 
ous is highly praised." * ^ 

The Acts conclude with a quotation of the references 
made to Ignatius and Irenaeus and Polycarp. 

The work is plainly a romance and cannot be shown 
even to be based on earlier documents. 

*The exaggerated tortures inflicted on the saint, the 
length and character of the discourses attributed to him, 
and the strange overtures made to him by the Emperor, 
all alike are fatal to the credit of the narrative.' ^ 

The date of these Acts can only be inferred within 
rough limits. I'he writer shows traces of acquaintance 
with, and dependence on, the Ecclesiastical History of 
Eusebius. He appears also to have known the interpo- 
lated version of the Ignatian Epistles, which, as we have 
seen, probably belongs to the latter half of the fourth 

The story of Ignatius, as contained in these Acts, is 
made use of by Latin martyrologists of the ninth century, 
not however in its original form, but in combination 
with the narrative of the Antiochene Acts. Hence 
Lightfoot thinks they may have been written at some 
period during the fifth or sixth centuries. 

As to the place of writing, the fact that Greek appears 
to be the original language of the work shows that they 
do not come from the Roman Church, where Greek had 
ceased to be spoken long before this time. Lightfoot 
adduces several indications in favour of Alexandria in 
Egypt as their birthplace. The mention of the month 
Panemus (which belongs to the Alexandrian reckoning), 
the attack made by Ignatius on animal worship, and lastly 
the fact that these Acts alone were translated into Coptic, 
favours Lightfoot's conclusion. The relations of Alex- 
andria and Rome, and the prominence of Rome in the 
narrative, may account for the circulation of these Acts 
in the West. 


c. ij, ^ Lightfoot, vol, ii. p. 377. 


The Antiochene Acts stand on a somewhat higher level. 
Their genuineness has been maintained by Ussher and 
Pearson as well as by many modern writers. In these 
Acts the centre of interest is mainly Antioch, where 
the trial takes place, and where the reliques are finally 

After describing the government of the Church at 
Antioch by Ignatius, * the disciple of the Apostle John, 
a man in every way of apostolic life,' the narrative pro- 
ceeds to describe the visit of Trajan to Antioch, in the 
ninth year of his reign, after his victory over the Scythians 
and Dacians, and his resolve to complete his conquests 
by subduing the Christians. Ignatius is brought before 
him, and the following dialogue takes place. * Who art 
thou, possessed of a devil, that art so ready to disobey 
our commands, and to persuade others also to come to a 
miserable death ? ' Ignatius said, * No man calleth him 
that carries God within him devil-possessed, for the devils 
keej) far from the servants of God. But if, because I am 
burdensome to these, thou callest me a wretch toward 
devils, I agree. For because I have Christ, a heavenly 
king, I overthrow their plots.' Trajan said, *And who 
is he that beareth God ? ' Ignatius answered, * He that 
hath Christ in his breast.' Trajan said, * Dost thou then 
think that we have not gods in our hearts, forasmuch as 
we use them as allies against our enemies?' Ignatius 
said, * Thou art in error in calling the devils of the nations 
gods. For there is one God, Who made heaven and 
earth and sea and all that is in them, and there is one 
Christ Jesus, His only begotten Son, Whose friendship 
may I enjoy.' Trajan said, * Meanest thou him that was 
crucified under Pontius Pilate ? ' Ignatius said, * I mean 
llim that hath crucified sin and the deviser thereof, and 
hath condemned all wickedness of devils to be trampled 
under foot of them that bear Him in their hearts.' 
Trajan said, * Dost thou then bear Christ within thyself?' 
Ignatius said, * Yea, for it is written, I will dwell in them 
and walk in them.' Trajan thereupon sentences him to 
be taken to Rome and to be thrown to the wild beasts in 
the amphitheatre. 


The route is next described. Ignatius sails from Seleu- 
cia to Smyrna, where he visits Polycarp, the bishop, his 
fellow-student and disciple under John. The Churches 
of Asia send their bishops, presbyters, and deacons to 
welcome him, and men flock to him to receive a blessing 
from him. Then follows the letter to the Romans and 
the account of his fears lest he should be respited. From 
Smyrna he sails to Troas and Neapolis, thence through 
Philippi across Macedonia and Epirus to Epidamnus, 
where he takes ship to Portus. He had desired, we are 
told, to land at Puteoli, that he might tread in the foot- 
steps of St. Paul, but unfavourable winds prevent this. 
Having set out from Portus, he is met by the brethren, 
whom he addresses at length, and after having prayed to 
the Son of God for the peace and love of the churches, 
he is conducted into the ami)hitheatre. It was the great 

* thirteenth day,' and the sports were drawing to a close. 
Only the tougher parts of his reliques were left, and so 
his prayer was fulfilled, that he might not be burdensome 
to any of the brethren (Rom. 4). The bones were carried 
back to Antioch and laid in a sarcophagus as *a priceless 
treasure to the holy Church.' On the night of his martyr- 
dom he appears to several of his companions. To some 
he appears standing over them and embracing them, 
others see him praying over them, others again see him 

* dripping with sweat, as one that had come out of great 
toil and standing by the Lord with great boldness and 
unspeakable glory.' 

Like the Roman Acts, this narrative betrays its spurious 
character. In the first place the journey by sea from 
Seleucia is inconsistent with the genuine letters, which 
plainly indicate an overland route, as was seen by 
Eusebius {H. E. iii. 36) and the compiler of the Roman 
Acts (c. i). The visit of Trajan to Antioch * in the ninth 
year of his reign ' is unknown to history, while the expe- 
dition to Parthia, for which he is said in the Acts to have 
been preparing, did not take place till several years later. 
The account of the reliques reads like the language of 
one writing in a later age. Moreover the Acts are not 
quoted before the end of the sixlh century. As we have 


seen, Eusebius contradicts their account of the journey, 
nor does he mention the interview with Trajan. Chry- 
sostom in his oration on Ignatius nowhere alludes to the 
story of the Acts. The earliest historian who shows any 
acquaintance with them is Evagrius, who wrote at the 
close of the sixth century. 

There are, however, a few incidents in the latter part 
of the journey which, it lias been thought, may be based 
upon some true traditions. Ignatius's desire to land at 
Puteoli, in order to follow in the footsteps of St. Paul, 
and the disappointment of his wish, are thought by 
Lightfoot to exhibit an *air of truthfulness, or at least 
of verisimilitude.' 

So, too, the appearances of Ignatius to his friends on the 
night of the martyrdom offer, it is urged, parallels to 
incidents in other genuine narratives. But against the 
view that a contemporary letter of the saint's companions 
has been incorporated into the narrative, Lightfoot him- 
self urges the objection that it is improbable that such a 
document should not have come to light before the fifth 
or sixth century. 

We are thus thrown back upon the letters themselves 
for the information which we seek about their author, and 
the traditions of later ages in this case add nothing that 
is reliable to our knowledge. 


Leviticus ii. 13 

. Magn. 10. 

psalms i. 3 . 

. Magn. 13. 

xxxiii. 9 ..... . 

. Eph. 15. 

Iv. 14 

. Eph. 21. 

Proverbs iii. 34 

. i':ph. 5. 

xviii. 17 

. Magn. 12. 

Isaiah v. 26 (cf. xlix. 22, Ixii. 10) 

Sm. I. 

Hi. 5 ...... . 

. Tr. 8. 

liii. 4 

Polyc. I. 

Ixvi. 18 

Magn. 10. 

St. Matt. ii. I sq 

Eph. 19. 

iii. 12 . 

. Ei.h. 16. 

iii. 15 

. Sm. I. 

V. 13 (cf. St. Mark ix. 50, St. Lul<e xiv. 34) 

Magn. 10. 

V. 45 f 

. Polyc. I. 

vii. 15 (cf. St. John x. 12, Acts xx. 29) 

. Phld. 2. 

vii. 24, 25 ..... . 

. Polyc. I. 

viii. 17 ...... 

. Poiyc. I. 

X. 16 . 

. Polyc 2. 

X. 40 . 

. Eph. 6. 

xii. 33 (cf. St. Luke vi. 44) . 

. Eph. 14. 

xiii. 33 (cf. St. Luke xiii. 21) 

. Magn. 10. 

XV. 13 

. Tr. II, Phld. 3 

xviii. 18-20 

. Epii. 5. 

xix. 12 ...... 

. Sm. 6. 

xix. 19 ...... 

Polyc. 5. 

XX. 28 (cf. St. Mark x. 45) . 

Magn. 6, Tr. 3. 

xxi. 33 

. Eph. 6. 

xxiii. 27 . ..... 

. Phld. 6. 

xxvi. 6 (cf. St. Mark xiv. 3 sq., St. John xii 

2 sq.) 

. Eph. 17. 

xxvii. 52 sq. . . . . . 

. Magn. 9. 

St. Mark iii. 27 

. Rom. 7. 

viii. 38 (cf. St. Luke ix. 26) . . . 

Sm. 10. 

St. Luke vi. 32 (cf. i St. Peter ii. 18) 

Polyc. 2. 

viii. 14 

Rom. 7. 

xxiii. 7-12 (cf. Acts iv. 27) . 

Sm. I. 

xxiv. 30, 36-42 (cf. St. John xxi. 13) . 

Sm. 3. 

St. John i. 16 (cf. Rom. xv. 29, Eph. i. 23) 

Eph. inscr. 

1* ^S •••••••« 

Rom. 2. 

ii. 8 (cf. viii. 14, ix. 29, xii. 35, I St. Johr 


ii. 11) . . . . . 

Phld. 7. 



iv. 10, II, 14 Rom. 7. 

iv. 34 (cf. vi. 29, xvii. 4) . . . • Eph. U, ^^m. 3. 

vi -i-j .,...• Rom. 7* 

vL 53/54 *. * ?/^-^°- 

viii. 28 . Magn- 7- 

viii. 29 Magn. 8. 

X.9 ™^-9. 

X. 18 • Sm. 2. 

xii. 2sq. (cf* St. Mark xiv. 3 sq., St. Matt. 

xxvi. 6sq.) Eph. 17. 

xii. 31 (cf. xiv. 30, xvi. II) . . . Eph.i7,i9,Magp.. 

I, Tr. 4, Rom. 
7, Phia. 6 

XV. I (cf. I Cor. iii. 9) 

xvii. 21—23 . 
Acts i. 25 

vi. 2 . 

ix. 41 . 

XV. 38 . 

xix. 24 
Rom. i. 2 (cf. iii. 21) 

vi. 4» 5 

1 Cor. i. 20 
i. 23, 24 
ii. 7 sq. 
ii. 14 sq. 
iii. I, 2 
iii. 16, 17 (cf. vi. 19, and 2 

xxi. 3) 
iv. 4 . 
iv. 13 . 
v. 7 . 
vi. 7 . 
vi. 9 . 
vi. 20 . 
vii. 22 . 
ix. 27 . 
X. 16 (cf. Acts ii. 46, XX. 7) 
XV. 8 . 
XV. 32 . 

2 Cor. xi. 9 (cf. xii. 16, i 
xi. 23 . 
xiii. 5 . 
xiii. 13 

Gal. i. I . 

i. 13 (cf. ii. 14) 
ii. 20 (cf. iii. 27) 
ii. 21 (cf V. 4) 
V. 21 . 
vi. 2 . 

Cor. vi. 16 

Thess. ii. 



PhM. 3. 
Tr. II. 
Magn 5. 
Tr. 2. 
Sm. 6. 
Eph. 14. 
Eph. 9. 
Magn. 8. 
Magn. 5. 
Eph. 18. 
Eph. 18. 
Eph. 19. 
Eph. 8. 
Tr. 5. 

Eph. 15, 16. 
Rom. 5. 
Eph. 8. 
Magn. 10 
Eph. 10. 

Eph. 16, Phld. 3. 
Eph. inscr. 
Rom. 4. 
Tr. 12. 
Eph. 20. 
Rom. 9. 

Tr. 10, Rom. 5. 
Phld. 6. 
Magn. 6. 
Magn. 12. 
Magn. 13. 
Phld. I. 
Magn. 8. 
Magn. 5. 
Magn. 8. 
Eph. 16. 
Polyc. I. 


XV. 45 


Eph. i. I f. 

i. 6 

i. lo . 

i. 21 {cf. Col. i. i6, ii. 

ii. 20 sq. 

iv. 24 (cf. I Cor. 

V. 25 . 

vi. 13 sq. 
Phil. ii. 10 

ii. 16 (cf. Col. i. 29, I 1 

ii. 20 . 

ii. 30 . 

iv. 12 . 

iv. 13 . 
Col. i. 18 

i. 23 . 

ii. 16 . 
I Thess. ii. 4 

V. 17 . 

1 Tim. i. 4 (cf. iv. 7 
iii. 10 . 
iv. 6 . 
vi. 2 . 

2 Tim. i. 16 
ii. 4 
ii. 12 . 
ii. 26 . 

Heb. i. 2 

i- 3 • 
viii. 13 

ix. 7-12 (cf. X. 19 

xiii. 10 
St. James ii. 2 
I St. Peter i. 10, 1 1 

ii. 25 (cf. V. 2, 4) 

in. 19, 20 . 

iv. 10 . 
I St. John ii. 18 

111. 16 . 
Rev. iii. 12 

xxii. I, 2 




IV. 10 

1. 14 

iii. 9) 

Eph. inscr. 

Smyrn. inscr. 

Eph. 18. 

Tr. 5. 

Eph. 9. 

Eph. 20. 

Polyc. 5. 

Polyc. 6. 

Tr. 9. 

Polyc. 6. 

Eph. 21. 

Eph. 14. 

Eph. 12. 

Sm. 4* 

Sm. I. 

Eph. 10. 

Magn. 9. 

Rom. 2. 

Eph. 10. 

Magn. 8. 

Tr. 2. 

Magn. 6. 

Polyc. 4. 

Eph. 2. 

Polyc. 6. 

Sm. 4. 

Sm. 9. 

Magn. 6. 

Magn. 5. 

Magn. 10. 

Magn. 7, PhUl. 9. 

Magn. 7. 

Polyc. 4. 

Magn. 8, 9. 

Magn. 3, Rom. 9, 

Polyc. inscr. 
Magn. 9. 
Polyc. 6. 
Eph. II. 
Eph. 21. 
Phld. 6. 
Tr. II. 


[See also Table of Contents, p. vii.] 

Acts of martyrdom, of St. Igna- 
tius, 21, 24, 74 f., I20f. 

Antiochene, 38, 70, 74, 

120, 123 f. 

Armenian, 120 f. 

BoUandist, 120 f. 

Roman, 74 f., i2of. 

of Simeon the Metaphrast, 

120 f. 
Agape, 18, 79, 97 f. 
d^air^, 97 f. 
ayio<l>6poSf 90 
ayyeia, 1 05 
Alee, lOl, 109 
Altar, use of word in Ignatius, 

42, 57, 66, 83 f. 
Anachronisms, supposed, 19, 76, 

Andrew, St., residence in Asia, 


Andrewes, Bishop, 11 

Angelology, 65 

Anointing at Bethany, 48 

avrl^vxoy, $2 

Apocryphal sayings of our Lord, 

Apostolic Constitutions, 15, 23, 

56, lOS 
Armenian version, 10, 17, 54, 56, 

62, 72, 77, 91, 93» 95 
Artemis, temple of, 44 
Athanasius, 37, 52 
Athletes, training of, 40 f., 106, 

Authority, types of,- in Ignatius, 


Baptism, Ignatius on, 4;, 97, 

Barnabas, Epistle of, 59 
fia<TKaiyciyy 73 
&40atoSf 96 

Bernard, J. H., Archbishop, 118 
Bernard, St., 9 
Bigg, Dr. C, 78 
liishop, in Ignatian Epistles, 18, 

19, 32 f., Ii3f. 
extent of administration of, 

Bunsen, 68, 104 

Burrhus, 40, 89, 100 

Caius MS., 12 

Catholic Church, 19, 90, 97. 

See also Unily of Chuich. 
Celibacy in early Church, 105 f, 
Chrysostom, St., 24, 125 
Clement of Alexandria, 16, 46, 

50, 66, 75,92, 116 
Clement of Rome, 55, 73, 75, 

83, 84, 88, 115, 118, 119, 

Clement, Second Epistle of, 43 
Colbertine MS., 70 
Coliseum, the, 21 
Compedagogita^ 40 
Constantine, 92 
Controversy on the Ignatius, 

Epistles, 9 flf. 
Coptic version, 10, 91, 93, 95 
Creed-like passages in Ignatius, 

17, 28 
Crome. Walter, 12 





Cross in Ignatian Epistles, 25, 

30 f., 92 

as tree of life, 67, 91 

Curelon, I3f. 

Curetonian Syriac version, I3f., 

50, 104 
Cyril of Jerusalem, 97 

Daille on genuineness of the 

Epistles, 13 
Date of Ignntian Epistles, 20 
Deacons, duties of, 63 f. See 

also Ministry. 
Descent of Christ into Ilades, 

28, 59 
Didymus, 94 
Diocesan episcopacy, 34, 73, 97, 

Dionysius the Areopagite, 12 
Dionysius of Corinth, 7I> 75 
DocetcTj, 28, 30, 36, 38, 43, 53, 

59, 60,62, 67, 78, 81,82,87, 

90, 96, iiof. 
Doctrine of Peter, 93 
Doctrine of Twelve Apostles 

(Didache), 33, 34, 83, 84, 98, 

115, 116 f., 119 
Door, Christ as the, 29, 31, 8S 

Egnatia, Via, 108 
Egyptian Church Order, 98 
Kphesians, Epistle of St. Paul 

to, 29, 68, 92 
Ephesus, 38 
its connexion with martyrs, 

41, 46 

its connexion with apostles. 


Episcopacy, in Ignatius, i8f., 
32 f. , 54, 65 f. See also 

extent of, 41 

Episcopus ( * * overseer " ), 33 f. , 

55, "3f. 
iiriffKOirii, 109 

iTrirpoTToSy 108 

4p(as, 78 

Eucharist, teaching of Ignatius 

on, 36 f., 51, 66, 83, 95 f. 

Eucharist, a sacrifice, 84 

connexion with Agape, 

^ 97 f. 
euxapttTT^a {evxo-pi'Sruv)^ 47, 83, 

Eusebius of Coesarea, 10, 14, 

16, 20, 21, 71, 76, 93, 95, 

100, 124 

Evagrius, 125 

Festival of Ignatius, 24 
Flavius Clemens, 72 
Funk, 15 

Gaius of Rome, 75 
Generation, the Divine, of the 

Son, 26, 43, 58 
Gnostics, 58 
Gore, Bishop, 18, 35 
Gospels, written^ 18, 29, 84 f., 

Gregory of Nyssa, 50 
Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln, 
12 f. 

Hadrian, letter to Servianus, 51 

Hall, Bishop, il 

Ilarnack, Dr., 15, 17, 20, 27, 

81, 84, 85, 116, 117, 118 
Hatch, Dr., 115 
Hebrews, Gospel according to, 

Heresies in Asiatic Churches, 

Hermas, Shepherd oi, 88, 118, 

Hero, Epistle to, 10 
High-priest, Christ as, 31, 88 
Holy Spirit, Ignatius on the, 

Hooker, 11 
Horner, 98 
Ilort, Dr., 57, 118 

Ignatian Epistles, Long Form, 
10 f., 15, 56, 62, 64, 65 

Middle Form, 11 f. 

Short Form, 13 f. 

spurious, 9 f, 



I{»natiiis, character and training, 

21, 25 

martyrdom of, 21 f. 

Incarnation, teaching of Ignatius 

on, 30 f., 37 
Irenocus, 16, 59, 66, 75, 84, 96 

James, St., position of, in 
Church of Jerusalem, 33, 34 

Jerome, 92, 93 

John, St., Gospel according to, 
29, 31, 48f., 86 

relaticms of, with Igna- 
tius, 23, 26, 29, 123 

residence of, at Ephesus, 


spurious correspondence 

of Ignatius with, 9 
Judaistic errors, attacked in 

Epistles, 36, 53, 57 f., 81,85. 

86, iiof. 
Justin Martyr, 18, 84, 85, 97, 


Latin Version, 12 f., 56, 57, 58, 
64, 71, 87, 91, 93,95 

Leopards, 19, 76 

Lightfoot, liishop, 14, 15, 16, 
18, 23, 35. 39, 40,41 » 42,43. 
44, 45, 48, 50, 51.53.54,57, 
58, 63, 65,66, 67, 68,70,71, 
72, 76, 78,79, 82, 86, 89,91, 
95. 96, 97, 98, 100, 104, 105, 
107, io8, no. III, ii4f. 

Lipsius, no 

Logos (Word), 26, 58, 72 

Lord's Day, 58 f. 

Lucian, on the Christians, 72, 


Maclean, Bishop, 98 

Magic, in early centuries, 51 

Magnesia, 53 

Marcellus, 58 

Marcion, 17, 59 

Mary of Cassobola, 10 

Matthew, St., Gospel according 

to, 29 
Milton, II 

Ministry, the Christian, in 
Ignatian Epistles, 18,19, 32 f-, 

64, Ii3f- 
Montague, Bishop, 12 

Muratorian Canon, 97 

Mysticism of Ignatius, 25, 37, 


Neapolis, 108 

New Testament, quotations of, 
in the Epistles, 18, 29 f. 

olKovo/jilaj 49 

Old Testament, Ignatius' atti- 
tude to, 30, 58, 85, 87, 88, 

Onesimus, Bishop of Ephesus, 

39, 42 
Ordinances of Apostles, 28 
Origen, 16, 21, 50, 78, 93 

Papias, 46 

Paul, St., relation of Ignatius 

to his teaching, 31 

and Roman Church, 75 

Pearson, Bishop, 9, 13, 47, 54, 

90, 123 
vepl^/'nfiaf 43 
Petavius, 11 
Peter, St., preaching and death 

at Rome, 75 
Philadelphia, 81 
Philip, St., residence in Asia, 


Philip of Side, 46 
Phillimore, 71 
Pliny, letter to Trajan, 98 
Poly carp, 20, 22 f., 66, 90, 102 
his Epistle to the Philip- 

pians, 15, 21, 23, 33, 55, 66, 

80, 115 
Polycrates, 46 

Presbyters, 35. See also Ministry. 
Prophecy, Christian, 33 f,, 86, 


Rabbinic fables, 57 

Ramsay, Prof., 21, 35, 36, 41, 


genl:ral index 

Keliques of St. Ignntius, 24, 

74 f., 121, 124 
Robinson, J. A., Dean, 117 
Roman Christians, and Ignatius, 

22, 70 
Roman Church, chaiity of, 71,95 

influence of, 72 

jurisdiction of, 70 f. 

Romans, Epistle of Ignatius to, 

13, 22, 36, 70 
Route of Ignatius, 22, 39, 86 
RuBnus, 59 
Ruinart, 13 

Sabbath, observance of, 58 

Sanday, Dr., 75 

Satan, deceived by Incarnation, 

Saturnilus, 113 

Savings-bank of Roman soldiers, 

Separatism, warnings against, 

37, 96 
Severus of Antioch, 58 
Ship, a figure of the Church, 

Shrines, portable, 44, 45 
Sirmium, Dated Creid of, 59 
Slaves, ransom of, 105 
Smectymnuus controversy, 11 
Smyrna, 90 
Socrate*?, 23 
(TwfiaTcloyj 99 
Stanton, Dr., 46 
Star, at birth of Christ, 50 
(TuvaywycUf 1 05 
(TvvbibaffKaK^Taif 40 
Swefe, Dr., 43, 59, 75. 97 
Syriac vtrsion, 17, 56, 64 

Tarsia ns. Epistle to, 10 
Tattam, Archdeacon, 14 
Tertullian, 46, 66, 70, 75, 98, 

Thecla, Acts of Paul and, 76, 

Theodore of Mopsuestia, 114 
Theodoret, 10, 14, 23 
Theodosius, the younger, 24 
Theophorus, 20, 23 f., 38 

eriptofiax^iy, 7S 

dvffiaffTiipioVf 83 

Ti adit ions of our Lord's life, 

Traian, 24, 121 f., 123 f. 

Tralles, 62 

Turner, C. II., 114, 120 

Unity of Churcli, Ignatius on, 

32, 41, 53, 64, 68, 96 
Ussher, Archbishop, 9, 11 f., 


Valentinus, 17 
Vedelius, 11 

Venantius Fortunatus, 67 
Vincent of Beauvais, 23 
Virgin, correspondence of the, 9 
Virgin-birth of our Lord, 27, 50 
Von der Goltz, 49, 1 10 
Vos«, Isaac, 13, 15 

Wake, Archbishop, 90, 91 
Word. See Logos. 
Wordsworth, C, Bishop, 14 

Zahn, Dr., 14, 42, 46, 51, 54, 

59, 72, 76, 78, 79, 89, 91, 
92, 104, 105, 106, 107, no. 




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